Red, white, and blah

The Renaissance Society’s latest exhibition, A Perfect Union…More or Less, portrays a decidedly disillusioned view of current government affairs. Mary Ellen Carroll’s 24-photo series (Federal, 2004) depicts a day in the life of Los Angeles’s bland federal building. Dominic McGill’s black-and-white mural (Project for a New American Century, 2004) locates war-on-terror imagery and language in a haunted forest. In one of Joeff Davis’s photographs a woman with a blank stare carries a “people of compassion” sign at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Rob Conger’s woven yarn-on-canvas mesh Greenspan Praying (2001) shows the Federal Reserve chairman in a meditative pose, hands pressed together. As a whole the exhibit reflects a confused American political identity, particularly in light of the November election, on display through December 19.

By A.M.B.

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Photos (from left to right): Joeff Davis, "People of Compassion," floor of the Republican National Convention, New York, New York, 2004; Mary Ellen Carroll, "Federal," 2004, 24 C-prints, ed. 5; Van McElwee, "Flag and its Shadow," 2003, DVD projection with sound; Dominic McGill, "Project for a New American Century," 2004, graphite on paper.

December 17, 2004