We the People preview Exhibition
Eclipse, 2014
Eclipse, 2014
the Hilton Brothers

54636 Thessaloniki
Τ. 2310 240002

Thessaloniki December 8, 2018 12:30 PM-2:30PM


WE THE PEOPLE is the most recent collaboration of Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg. These works explore the cultural dynamics of the relationship between America and China, the emerging great powers of the 21st century. Globalization, instant communications and social networking has brought East and West, old and new together in ways that have irrevocably changed both America and China. Makos and Solberg have spent the last years traveling extensively through both countries compiling a large body of photographic images of contemporary culture, people and the landscape. Through there collaborative process they merge diverse images into individual works of cohesive beauty and rich, suggestive content that gives vision to today's experience of cultural clash and cross-influence. Warhol famously chose Mao for subject matter seeing in the revolutionary leader's Little Red book much that, on a superficial level, mirrored Warhol's own published philosophy.

Young Chinese artists like Ai Weiwei, recognizing the dead-pan serious/not serious nature of Warhol's work as directly descended from Duchamp, embraced Warhol as a liberating figure, who allowed their own emerging artistic sensibilities to freely borrow from Western modern art in finding a new, global voice. Ai Weiwei came to use the formal visual vocabulary of contemporary Western art to address contemporary social issues in China. His use of ready-mades (an installation of brightly -colored children's knapsacks left outside the Munich Museum to weather, as a commentary on the tragic loss of life following a landslide in rural China that was thought to have been caused by poor land management policies). Ai Weiwei further developed his wry use of material by taking the "ready-made" concept a step further, (employing large groups of workers to hand craft and paint countless small ceramic items to exactly mimic beans), and thus engaging directly in the lives of contemporary Chinese workers. Wei's use of social media is among the earliest and remains among the most influential examples of how instant communication has become a force in in art culture, and politics. Makos and Solberg continue in this tradition of social comment on contemporary culture, how it is shaped, and how it affects our sense of self in a world where real American cowboys struggle to define themselves in a world of shrinking ranges and drought, and a growing Chinese middle class, through social media and travel becomes familiar with not only the uber- American brands of Marlboro, McDonalds and Coke, but of Uber itself, and America's bedrock "brand", democracy. In both America and China, traditional ideas of individualism and collectivism are evolving in the popular imagination and in governmental authorities' responses to global concerns. We the People visually explores this rich cultural environment that is being shared, and influenced by its sharing, on social media, and traditional media, all of which is fast becoming available world-wide. These new works speak specifically to the dialogue between America and China, their peoples, traditions, and attitudes towards the past and the future.

Posted: Nov-30-2018
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