Reconstitution is a group exhibition that is an update and recasting of the 1987 exhibition Constitution originally organized by the art collective Group Material. The exhibition will include work by: Kathryn Andrews, Shagha Ariannia, Gretchen Bender, Dawoud Bey, Mary Ellen Carroll, Ching Ho Cheng, Tseng Kwong Chi, Sonya Clark, Joeff Davis, Sid M. Duenas, Melvin Edwards, Ridykeulous (Nicole Eisenman & A.L. Steiner), Rafa Esparza, Lauren Davis Fisher, Arshia Haq, Rachel Harrison, Sharon Hayes, Edgar Heap of Birds, Brendan Fowler/Election Reform, Gronk, Anish Kapoor, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Kang Seung Lee, Zoe Leonard, Steve Locke, M (aka Michael Chow), Van McElwee, Harold Mendez, Mike Mills, Jenny Perlin, Jefferson Pinder, Christina Quarles, Umar Rashid, Marie “Big Mama” Roseman, Peter Saul, Augustus Sherman, Maryam Taghavi, Mark Themann, Danh Vo, Christine Wang, Timothy E. Washington, Lawrence Weiner, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
1987 marked the 200th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, and on the occasion, Group Material mounted Constitution at Temple University gallery in Philadelphia. Featuring over 40 artists whose work ran the gamut from folk to conceptual art, the exhibition was nothing if not democratic. In juxtaposing the U.S. Constitution against works of contemporary art, Group Material laid claim to the Constitution not simply as it frames our government, but as a living document, one that harbors ideals against which we monitor our progress as a society.
As was the case for Group Material in 1987, recourse to the U.S. Constitution comes at a time when the electorate is deeply divided about the role of government and its priorities. But recourse to the U.S. Constitution, just as it serves to unite, also begs the question how and to what extent are the ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all being met? Reconstitution, over and above responding to a short albeit violent swing of the socio-political pendulum, (from Obama to Trump) is responding to an electorate whose divisiveness has significantly deepened over the past 30 years.
Are we living up to our ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all? This question cannot fail to solicit a critical posture, one that is part and parcel of art itself. Now more than ever, the so-called identity politics of the 1980s and 1990s (with art work forthrightly addressing issues of race, gender, class, nationality and religion) have become inseparable from national identity. Debates about police brutality, immigration, inequality, religious freedom, healthcare, the environment reflect who we aspire to be as a nation. Reconstitution is one mirror. Reconstitution is curated by Catherine Taft and Hamza Walker.
Lead support for Reconstitution is generously provided by Brenda Potter.
Major support provided by the "Signers of Reconstitution," Margaret Morgan and Maria Seferian.
Additional support provided by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Generous support provided by the “Framers of Reconstitution,” Thalassa Balanis, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Alan Hergott and Curt Shepard, Hannah Hoffman, and Mary Weatherford.
Additional in-kind support provided by KCET and Einstök Beer Co.