Politics As Usual

June 22, 2016 - February 5, 2017

Poster of politician
A series of three small-scale exhibitions using works from the Ackland’s permanent collection, Politics As Usual examines ways in which artists engage with the power structures of their times. Whether their stance is documentary, activist, or revisionist, the artists included demonstrate that concerns of the political have long been, and continue to be, fertile ground for art making.

  • Challenging Power  24 June – 21 August 2016
  • Electing Power  26 August – 13 November 2016
  • Maintaining Power  18 November 2016 – 5 February 2017
“…a small but mighty exhibit worth devoting half an hour to on your next trip to Chapel Hill”  — Jessie Ammons, Walter Magazine

The first installation, Challenging Power, included examples of art works that both record and encourage resistance to the socio-political status quo through actions like demonstrations, rebellions, and civil disobedience. Electing Power more specifically examined aspects of democratic processes, such as campaigning, corruption, and celebrations. The final installation, Maintaining Power, illustrates the ways in which artists track the day-in, day-out system of governing, including the debates of legislative sessions, the cultivation of foreign policy, and the role of bureaucracy.

Curated by Lauren Turner, Assistant Curator for the Collection, Ackland Art Museum.

Images Credit: Dan Flavin, American, 1933-1996: I Believe Him, 1972; color screenprint on paper. Gift of Peter Nisbet in Honor of James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, 2016.25.