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Soft Power

April 8 May 21, 2011

Opening Reception: Friday, April 8, 7 – 9 pm, press preview at 6pm

Curated by Amanda B Friedman and Elizabeth Hirsch

Featured artists: Phillip Birch, Mike Calway-Fagen, Jillian Conrad, Jeff DeGolier, Bethany Fancher, Christina Leung,
Duncan Malashock, and Alina Tenser.

Just as the political strength of an idea can be derived from its identification as ‘apolitical,’ the driving force of this exhibition was born out of the decision not to overlay a theme but to respond to interpretive mechanisms at work within the experience of certain objects.

Based on a term coined by Harvard academic Joseph Nye, “soft power” refers to a diplomatic strategy in which the confidence of an audience is gained through attraction rather than force, a notion borrowed by Friedman and Hirsch to examine aesthetic temperament and its appeal.

The works in Soft Power emphasized a measure of formal familiarity. From Tenser’s subtle sculptural reference to Tatlin’s monument, to Malashock’s videogame narrative, and Birch’s newsprint tract, these works utilized cultural history and ubiquitous visual references as an entry point through which to consider the convergence of social and personal concerns.

Featured image: Jeff DeGolier, Moving Bag, c-print, 2005

View more photos from the opening and installation here

L to R: Duncan Malashock, Alina Tenser, Mike Calway-Fagen, Bethany Fancher

L to R: Philip Birch, Alina Tenser, Jeff deGolier

Jill Conrad

Christina Leung