SHOWING NOW

I'M AFRAID OF AMERICANS
JENNY POLAK AND DREAD SCOTT

Curated by Risa Puleo
Feb 3rd – March 3rd, 2018

Fiendish Plots is proud to present an exhibition of work by New York-based artists Jenny Polak and Dread Scott. Using a range of mediums and variety of rhetorical structures, both Polak and Scott address the most pressing social problems of our time in an effort to engage audiences in a dialogue about their own political agency. Having been married for 25 years, the exhibition at Fiendish Plots puts Polak and Scott’s work together so that audiences may engage in the daily dialogue between the two artists.

The exhibition begins with a video made in collaboration by Polak and Scott, in which both artists’ concerns are urgently palpable. Welcome to America, 2004, features footage from The Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. However, when children read the words of U.S.-American detention agents as they interrogate Muslim-Americans and immigrants from primarily Muslim countries in the wake of 9-11 the brutality of the original interaction is revealed. One side of Fiendish Plots’ gallery space features work by Polak that examines her work about immigration and detention centers. Polak uses her background in architecture and her own immigration experiences, to think about how spaces and transformed into containers for holding people captive, and, conversely, how space can also open up possibilities of escape. On the other side of the gallery, Scott untangling and distilling deeply embedded oppressive structures in U.S.-American society into potent and powerful statements about the entanglement of capitalism with racism. The exhibition ends with new work created collaboratively between the artists while in the south of France in the summer of 2017, in which the artists worked together again to think through these same issues as they have developed in Europe.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

JENNY POLAK makes site and community responsive art that reframes immigrant-citizen relations, amplifying demands for social justice. Originally from England, her art draws on my background in architecture and includes public and socially engaged projects such as architectural installations, drawings and useful commemorative objects. Her own family history of migration drives her to examine detention centers, racial profiling, and strategies for surviving hostile authorities. Her fictional firm, Design For The Alien Within, creates hypothetical hiding and dwelling places, symbolic lookout and counter-surveillance structures.

Polak’s art, collaborations and site-specific projects have been exhibited widely and awarded support by NYFA, the Graham Foundation for the Advanced Study of Visual Art and Franklin Furnace, among others. She has held artist residencies including with the National Park Service, Newark Museum, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. While an Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern University, Polak conceived the long-term project Mobile Speakers’ Podium for Citizens and Non-Citizens, currently appearing in locations around Chicago, to highlight and promote community and artist activism against mass incarceration and the for-profit prison industry.

DREAD SCOTT makes revolutionary art to propel history forward, looking towards an era without exploitation or oppression. Rejecting the political structures, economic foundation, social relations and governing ideas of America has empowered Scott to make artworks that view leaders of slave revolts as heroes, challenge American patriotism as a unifying value, burn the US Constitution (an outmoded impediment to freedom), and position the police as successors to lynch mob terror. Working in a range of media, including performance, installation, video, photography, printmaking and painting in venues ranging from street corners to art galleries and museums, Scott’s work engages with significant social questions and pushes formal and conceptual boundaries as part of contributing to artistic development.

Scott’s work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, The Walker Art Center, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Pori Art Museum in Finland as well as on view in America is Hard to See, the inaugural exhibition of The Whitney Museum’s new building. In 2012, The Brooklyn Academy of Music presented his performance "Dread Scott: Decision" as part of their 30th Anniversary Next Wave Festival. Jack Shainman and Winkleman Gallery in New York have exhibited recent work and his public sculptures have been installed at Logan Square, Philadelphia and Franconia Sculpture Park, Minnesota. His work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Akron Art Museum. Scott received grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP Fund, the Pollock Krasner Foundation and has been awarded a Socially Engaged Artists Fellowship from A Blade of Grass Foundation. His work has been written about in The New York Times, Art In America, Sculpture Magazine, ArtNews, Artforum, Art21 Magazine, Time, The London Guardian and several other newspapers, magazines and books. He has appeared on numerous local and national TV and radio shows including Oprah, The Today Show, and CBS This Morning speaking about his work and the controversy surrounding it.

Contact
Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez: nanfriedemann@gmail.com
Charley Friedman: charleyelrahc@gmail.com

Fiendish Plots
www.fiendishplots.com
2130 Magnum Circle
Lincoln, NE 68522

Hours: Saturday and Sunday 1-4 pm and by appointment.
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