Curated by Quentin Gibeau
January 24 - February 25, 2022
In the midst of recent societal upheavals -- from the Covid-19 pandemic, to the climate crisis, to increasing political division, to the decentralization of information and the prevalence of conspiracy theories -- apocalyptic thinking has become pervasive. While the world has not ended, the threat has felt real. But apocalypse, by its original Greek definition, means a revelation. What new world might be revealed, as the world we once knew ceases to exist? Is there a better world we can build out of this one?
Laid Bare takes its name from a meme. Featuring an electron microscope image of a virus, the text reads “Nice country you’ve got there, would be a shame if I laid bare the cruelty inherent in its very structure.” And while this meme itself is from March of 2020, the sentiment remains as “Post-Pandemic” means nothing to a world still feeling its effects. Other great schisms fundamentally altered the societies in which they took place by reacting to similar cruelties. The Black Death effectively set the stage for the end of feudalism and planted the seeds of the renaissance. The Great Depression ushered in the New Deal, and a subsequent era of American prosperity. These moments were also met with fear, radicalization, and a growing sense of inevitable conflict. With a mainstream acceptance of mutual aid and essential workers demanding better conditions, with then as with now we’ve also seen mass distrust, acceptance of disinformation, religious persecution and sectarianism, and normalization of violence in policy and practicality.
Laid Bare asks artists and viewers alike to take the lessons of these revelations both public and personal, and draw inspiration from the push and pull of apocalyptic times and utopian possibilities. Some of the work reflects on our shared periods of deep isolation. Some of it addresses growing climate anxiety through imagined and plausible science fictions. Some of it inverts the male gaze back onto the viewer. Other artists reflected these ideas through the experience of migration, both in humanity and nature. Other artists turn to their personal moments of healing and strength that allowed them to maintain resiliency. Still others chose to represent staring into the void, and its gaze returned.
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On January 29, we gathered via Zoom for a virtual artists' reception. To watch a recording of the event, which includes remarks by curator Quentin Gibeau and conversation with many of the exhibiting artists, click here or scroll to the bottom of this page.
Virtual Artists' Reception
On January 29, we gathered via Zoom to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. Curator Quentin Gibeau gave remarks, and many of the exhibiting artists spoke about their work.