Call for Work
Art Stands Still
May 31 – July 13, 2019
In the United States, freedom has historically been linked to the right to move as one pleases. This limited understanding of freedom has led to the creation of a system that constrains the movement of the many to reinforce the supposed freedom of the few. Policies of containment can be found throughout the history of the United States: Japanese internment camps, Native American reservation systems, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Jim Crow segregation, not to mention today’s mass incarceration of people of color, the travel ban blocking entry to those from majority-Muslim nations, and the closing of the government over the creation of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
In our modern history of art, freedom has also been conceptualized as movement: the avant-gardepush our society forward through their new and unconventional choices. Like the first line of an army charging into battle, these artists attempt novel works of art while denying any previous influences or collaborators. This concept of freedom has restricted our understanding of what artistic genius looks like to the domain of white men, who, as art historian Linda Nochlin famously pointed out, have suffered from less societal restrictions to their claims of independence and exceptionality.
Contemporary artists and historians working in disability studies, gender studies, critical race theory, and queer theory, among other fields, have begun the important work of dismantling the conflation of freedom with movement. How does our current limited definition of freedom support hegemonic capitalist, nationalist, sexist, racist, ablest, homophobic, transphobic systems of power in the art world and beyond? How can we visualize alternative notions of freedom through art? How can mobility participate in the limitation or denial of such freedoms? And what happens when artists and viewers not only resist moving forward, but choose to stand shockingly still?
The group exhibition, Art Stands Still, will open at Collar Works, a repurposed textile factory, within Troy, New York, a city that was once celebrated for its position at the forefront of American industrial achievement. Like many Rust Belt economies, it experienced a sharp economic decline in the late twentieth century. What is forward for cities like Troy? Art Stands Still looks to create a place for a community of alternatives to spatial, temporal, and social advancement. Works may be connected to the theme broadly and all media will be considered.
Just for a moment, let’s not go anywhere, together.