The art of war


A loop of one-minute weather reports from an all-news station blares as visitors approach the Renaissance Society show Meanwhile, in Baghdad. The bulletins, which actually make up Kenneth Goldsmith’s poem "The Weather (Spring)," report the weather in New York and Baghdad for the Iraq War’s first 15 days of combat.

Just beyond the gallery’s entrance what appears to be a dead man wearing Middle Eastern dress lies on the floor with a chest wound covered with a white towel. The piece, appropriately named Deadman, is a representation of a civilian killed during the Iraq War, according to an exhibit brochure. Other pieces in the exhibit include Matt Davis’s psychedelically altered, photo-based image of a paratrooper who seems to be exploding, and Helsinki-based artist Adel Abidin’s video of a young girl sitting on a sidewalk in front of a rubble lot created by a recent bombing. The girl sings as she scrapes together bits of rubble to fill a white plastic teaspoon.

The exhibit suggests the arguments about whether the invasion was right or wrong are moot, the brochure says, as its premise is “a simple rhetorical question, namely, ‘Where are we in the Iraq War?’”

The exhibit runs through December 21.


Photos: Top: Deadman, 2006. Jonathan Monk, wax, rubber, human hair, oil paint, fabrics. Bottom: Construction Site, 2006. Adel Abidin, video.

December 5, 2007