OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding

Exhibition Wed 15 Oct 2008 - Sun 1 Feb 2009 Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design
2 West 13th Street
Free admission
On view: October 15, 2008 to February 1, 2009
Opening reception: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Exhibition website: branding-democracy.org

Timed to coincide with the final stages of the American presidential elections, this international exhibition presents a range of works that reflect on some of the desires generated and satisfied by democracy—such as choice, participation, freedom of expression, a sense of belonging and the promise of individual success—and asks whether these values have become associated with the idea of democracy the way a consumer brand acquires value. Hosted by Parsons The New School for Design, the exhibition brings together practitioners in the hybrid field of art and design who use a variety of media, ranging from video to photography, from performance to sound, from sculptures to information mapping, to critically examine democracy as a site of branding.
In essence, the exhibition is a stage, conceived as a platform for debate, and consisting of four distinct structures that each feature analytical as well as generative elements. The first element of the show is a central platform designed by Liam Gillick that is the site of lectures, performances, charrettes (solution-driven workshops), and panels. A second layer consists of interpretative materials that both contextualize the exhibition and create ephemeral brands themselves—a gallery guide, supplemented by an audio guide with artists' statements, handouts, stickers, and a number of posters, all of which act as vehicles for a self-reflexive process. The third structure is made up of workshops inserted into existing classes at Parsons that, for the first time, are being held in the actual gallery space, on the platform. Modeled on design charrettes, which are effective and entertaining combinations of concept and mobilization, these workshops pose specific challenges and call for immediate practical solutions. The fourth structure includes public lectures and panels that further illuminate the subject.

Participating artists: Yael Bartana, Erick Beltrán, Alexis Bhagat, Paul Chan, Joseph DeLappe, Alexandra Domanović, Sam Durant, Kota Ezawa, Andrea Geyer, Liam Gillick, Sharon Hayes, Susan Hiller, Ashley Hunt, I Approve This Message, Institute for Infinitely Small Things, Emma Kay, Komar & Melamid, Asaf Koriat, Runo Lagomarsino, Steve Lambert, Les Liens Invisibles, Ligorano/Reese, Miguel Luciano, Michael Mandiberg, Emery C. Martin, Aleksandra Mir, Carlos Motta, Dave Muller, Timo Nasseri, Ariel Orozco, Trevor Paglen, PETLab, Nadine Robinson, Anri Sala, Hank Willis Thomas, Johan Tirén, Brian Tolle, Judi Werthein, Wooloo Productions, The Yes Men, Carey Young

The exhibition is presented in the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, and is co-produced by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and Parsons The New School for Design. Curated by Carin Kuoni, director of the VLC. Web component curated by Marisa Olson.

This program has been made possible, in part, by a generous grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This event is presented as part of the Vera List Center's 2008–2009 program cycle on "Branding Democracy."

For more information on OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding, visit the exhibition website , and see the Exhibition Brochure and Exhibition Checklist above, available as downloadable PDFs. Additionally, Press Release and coverage are provided, below.
The New School Press Release