September 1 -28, 2018
The Neon Heater, Findlay, OH
Featuring work by:
Belleau + Churchill
Stephanie Concepion Ramirez
download THE SETTING .pdf
Setting the Stage:
On November 4, 1980, the American people elected a Western film star to the office of President of the United States. Once normalized for our entertainment the sensationalization of westward expansion and violent lawlessness of the Wild West was now mingling with our political landscape. Politics and theatre. Truth and make believe. Reality and invention.
How do we decide upon the stories that we tell? There has to be a moment where it starts. We pick the details, the facts, that are required for the story to be placed realistically for the audience; our stories don't have any power unless they are understood. Luckily there are devices for storytelling, so we don't have to start from scratch. Foreshadowing, and the flashback; tropes and cliches connect our stories to the larger act of storytelling. You can make reference or homage, connecting your story to other stories. By weaving your story with others you make it more believable, one leads to the next. The easiest way to do that is with symbols, recognizable visual cues which condense vast amounts of information.
Rawhide was the Secret Service codename of Ronald Reagan. Rawhide was a Western TV show in the 1950s and 60s starring a young Clint Eastwood. Rawhide is an animal skin that hasn't been tanned into leather. When you talk about a person's hide, you refer to their ability to withstand criticism.
Raw Hide is many things.
It is an exhibition that can be viewed together as a whole, or by its parts. All of the works in this exhibition are part of larger narratives. They were created like details for their respective story. What happens when they are removed from that original context? Do they lose that context? Or is that context condensed and embedded, creating new symbols?
It is an exploration of American Mythmaking and storytelling. How does the way we tell our story influence the way we think of ourselves? What does it mean to be an American in present day America?
It sets the stage. Our narrative takes place in a Red State, in an America built on a legacy of Ronald Reagan. But what exactly is that legacy, is it reality or myth?
This is where The Temperature starts.
The Temperature was a curatorial project of The Neon Heater, an artist-run space in Findlay, OH. As part of their seventh year of exhibitions, The Neon Heater curated a series of 25 exhibitions across the United States between September 2018 and May of 2019. A loose conceptual narrative connected the exhibitions via a monthly framework unfolding throughout the course of the year. The narrative is a critique of the Art world and capitalist art market, American nationalism and exceptionalism, and universalized Hollywood blockbusters. September's monthly theme was The Setting.
Other exhibitions in The Setting include:
Lines on Map Mean Little to Eyes in the Sky at Southern Project Space in St. Augustine, FL
Different Registers at Camayuhs in Atlanta, GA
When the Winters Were Still Really Cold at Usable Space in Milwaukee, WI
Truth & The Flood at Real Tinsel in Milwaukee, WI