May 12, 2011

Stalwart at CAAM

While I was at the California African American Museum seeing IndiVisible, I checked out the other exhibits. I especially liked this one:

Stalwart: The Art of Christopher Carter
March 17-May 15, 2011
San Francisco Bay Area based artist Christopher Carter creates work in a variety of disciplines and media—both still and kinetic/interactive sculpture, paintings, woodcuts, and various types of installations. Carter’s sculptures are created from 19th century lumber, drawing connections between 19th century America and 21st century current events. Carter describes the exhibit’s 20 pieces: “The work collected for the show, STALWART, represents ideas I have wrestled with since 2003. The concepts I explore often necessitate a union of idea and material.” Born in Albuquerque, NM, and raised in Boston, MA, Carter’s work reflects his African American, Native American and European heritage.You can see some of Carter's work here:

Christopher Carter

Comment:  Judging by Stalwart, Carter seems to like flag designs. But his flags are made of straps, bars, locks, chains, ropes, and other symbols of bondage. With names such as Growth of a Nation and Tread on Me, they suggest how America was built on industrialization and cheap labor, especially slave labor.

Carter's Native influences weren't obvious to me. He's done "Totemic Columns," but they weren't on display at CAAM. I guess you could say the intertwined ropes suggest Native weaving. Perhaps the Native influence is in the underlying theme: the notion that America has kept its minorities oppressed, enslaved, and imprisoned in concentration camps (reservations).

For more on the subject, see IndiVisible at CAAM and Bosque Redondo = Model for Auschwitz.

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