Megan Wilson  
megawilson@aol.com
Writings > Democracy - The Last Campaign
 
Democracy - The Last Campaign
SF Camerawork
Through November 18

I can remember in the early nineties getting into a heated argument with the Catwoman of Controversy, Camille Paglia, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. My young idealist mind wanted to believe that the word "democracy" still had meaning to it. The previous year, I had sat in the school's Larko Forum amongst the crowd of young future policy wonks, throwing popcorn and singing "don't stop thinking about tomorrow" as we watched the votes roll in on election night '92. After 12 years of the Reagan/Bush administrations we were giddy with hope for a better anything. Eight years later after 2 consecutive terms of the Clinton administration and less than a month away from the election, I'm viewing "Democracy - The Last Campaign," by the collaborative artist team Margaret Crane / Jon Winet at SF Camerawork and thinking to myself -- god this would be a perfect installation at Kenneth Cole. Crane / Winet have spent the past year, observing and documenting the psycho-social dynamics of American public life in connection to the political activity of the 2000 presidential elections. The result is a brilliant blurring of the boundaries between art and politics, fact and fiction, and social and corporate agendas. The show combines the visual aesthetics and graphic design of the news media with incongruent combinations of photography, graphics, sound and video. Stock images of candidates are unexpectedly paired with snippets of sophisticated, poetic text, while bright orange, pink, green, and yellow banners display ambiguous bytes such as "Economic Justice," "End Class Warfare," and "Collective Prosperity." In an adjoining room, a video projection features interviews with campaign supporters mixed with moments from "behind the scenes" that become increasingly uncomfortable, yet impossible to turn away from. The project also includes a website (http://dtlc.walkerart.org) that features thought provoking essays by Crane, David Levi Strauss, Kevin Killian, Roberto Tejada, Glen Helfand, Laura Hartwick, and Dodie Bellamy, as well as links to a number of campaign sites.

SF Camerawork
115 Natoma Street, San Francisco
Tues. - Sat. 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
(415) 764-1001 (Megan Wilson)