Democracy 2020: Craft & the Election
This fall, Craft in America Center will present a dynamic virtual exhibition of works made by 20 artists from across the U.S. to address key issues underlying the 2020 election and the American political landscape. Employing glass, fiber, ceramics, metal, wood and various other craft-based materials of everyday life, these highlighted artists use their media to voice concerns, point out injustice and inequity, and potentially instill hope for a better future. This exhibition evolved as a response to the social dilemmas and crisis that surged over the past year. Art can mirror what takes place in a society and it is often prophetic. Through the objects gathered for Democracy 2020, conversations are initiated, awareness can be raised, and perhaps, change can be forged.
Democracy 2020 will exist as a digital exhibition and additionally, select works will be displayed in the Craft in America Center’s public windows onto West Third Street in Los Angeles. These objects will be safely viewable by the public from outside the space at all hours, day or night. In addition, we will be producing short capsule videos in which the artists explain, in their own words, what their objects mean to them and what they hope for viewers to take away and keep in mind as we face voting in the next election.
Craft is inherently democratic and it is part of our national heritage. The handmade has been a venue for political commentary, from the AIDS Quilt to more recently the “Pussy Hats” from the 2017 Women’s March. Craft is uniquely positioned because of its accessibility as a political tool. Through material, process, and subject, the artists represented in this exhibition engage in important dialogues about the state of our republic.
The objects in Democracy 2020 touch on the spectrum of topics that shape the fiber of our nation and our societal conflicts. These gathered objects address environmental policy, race, the military, gun violence, reproductive rights, the need for economic regulation and much more. A handwoven portrait suggests, what if George Washington were black? How does race play a role in the mythology of the country? Cups bring the subjects of war, exploitation, destruction and corruption into our most used objects for everyday existence. And glass and bullet casings touch on the desecration of indigenous lands and rights.
Essential to this year’s election are the issues of climate change and environmental policy. By creating objects that convey and confront subjects including; oil drilling, species endangerment, fracking, resource exploitation, clean water, and more concerns, artists raise awareness and initiate a dialogue through the language of art. These artists give shape and form to issues that we are all facing in the tenuous survival of our society.
Democracy 2020 includes work by Bernice Akamine, Jim Bassler, Vic de la Rosa, Terri Greeves, Karen Hampton, Merritt Johnson, Kate Kretz, John Luebtow, Adam Manley, Gerardo Monterrubio, Deborah Nehmad, Guadalupe Navarro, Joan Takayama Ogawa, William Rhodes, Ehren Tool, and more.