HATE IN AMERICA
A selection of works by Syd Krochmalny curated by Alexandra Goldman
Senaspace, New York
229 Centre Street
September 13 - October 27, 2018
Opening reception: Thursday, September 13, 6-9pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 12-8pm
Curator Alexandra Goldman presents, “Hate in America,” an exhibition comprising selections from three series of works by artist Syd Krochmalny. Watercolor paintings and lipstick drawings, plastic and resin sculptures, and the first ever U.S. iteration of the critically acclaimed installation, Diarios del Odio (Buenos Aires, 2014-17) will be on view at Senaspace in New York from September 13 – October 27, 2018. The exhibition will be accompanied by an academic text authored by Jose Falconi, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.
The watercolor paintings and lipstick drawings on view in Hate in America originate from the project by Krochmalny in collaboration with critic Claudio Iglesias titled, No More Victoria Secret, 2017. Images found via Internet searches were painted and accompanied by quotes from Steve Bannon written in lipstick, to generate a series of diptychs.
In dialogue with these wall pieces are Krochmalny’s 3D printed plastic and resin busts that reference recognizable artists and shine brilliantly like fake commercial luxury products. Their teasing and melancholy faces produce an equally empathetic human quality that draws us closer. Emphasizing materiality, Krochmalny isolates 3D technology, versus the hand, as a way to conjure imagery through layers of memory and present illusions of being. On this project, Artist Roberto Jacoby notes that “the collapsed constructions of post-capitalism, the threats of global destruction, the fantasies about the efficacy of art and the unrecognizable landscapes, appear here, in fragments, in the art of the icons of the century: the Italian, Amedeo Modigliani, the Argentine, Lino Enea Spilimbergo, and in the Americans, like Paul McCarthy, Matthew Barney, and Briuce Nauman.” The figures of the past return and speak to us.
The most anticipated project on view in Hate in America is the first ever U.S. iteration of Krochmalny’s 2014-2017 project together with artist Roberto Jacoby, Diarios del Odio (Journals of Hate). The original Diarios del Odio project is based on reader’s comments in electronic versions of major newspapers in Argentina, where they are enabled to express their views without boundaries. Some of the phrases they wrote are then written on the walls of the exhibition space. In New York, Krochmalny will work specifically with the hate displayed in the comments sections of Fox News and Breitbart News.
The chosen fragments specifically track those discursive cores where the dehumanization of whole sectors of society occur. The construction of the other as an object of extreme hatred seeks to define certain people as a social surplus. “Shit,” “trash,” and “waste,” are some of the metaphors that turn the “other” into “excrement” that the social body must expel. These types of societal views also appear when medical terms such as “cancer,” “infection,” or “gangrene,” that must be removed, are used.
However, all haters need an object as long as their identity is defined in relation to the hated. Thus, in the instance of the original Diarios del Odio, we see that the commentators perceive themselves as “Argentinian” by referring the "bolita," the "piragua," the "perucho," -- derogatory categories that describe immigrants from nearby countries. They perceive themselves as belonging to the white race by denigrating colored people; they feel more masculine when they humiliate women; they entitle themselves as educated by stigmatizing the uninstructed. They make themselves feel middle class in relation to the degraded poor. No matter how poor you are, it is always possible to imagine someone poorer.
These observations do not say anything new. You may even think that the comments that we selected in the newspapers are just anonymous rants. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that many main massacres in history were preceded by dehumanizing discourses, public narratives which went unheeded at the time.
For this U.S. iteration of Diarios del Odio (Journals of Hate) at Senaspace, Krochmalny recreates this installation in the context of Trump’s America. Phrases such as “Obama Bin Laden,” “Leftist Scum, please keep whining about race and gender,” and “I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids,” confront viewers in the exhibition space and command reflection.