Vested Interest
Group Show featuring Guerra de la Paz
Curator Lena Vigna

Run Dates: May 25th - September 6th 2008
Opening Reception: Sunday May 25th, 5-8pm

John Michael Kohler Arts Center
608 New York Ave. Sheboygan, WI 53081

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Drawing on the idea that dress and adornment have often been used historically as "badges" that immediately and visually classify a person or group's social and political beliefs (the dress of Suffragettes, military uniforms, the red hats of the French revolutionaries), VESTED INTEREST offers an expanded context for understanding the “socio-political” dimension of dress and its power as a catalyst for thought and action.

This large group exhibition features contemporary artists that explore the complex dynamic between adornment and socio-political issues—artists that ruminate on, and perhaps offer challenges to, the status quo.

Several artists create wearable garments and accessories that highlight their concerns about contemporary political and social conflict (Lisa Anne Auerbach’s sweaters and scarves emblazoned with “inflammatory” text and image, Cheryl Yun’s purses and bags featuring newspaper imagery of tension, unrest, and disaster). Others use dress as a way to touch on larger issues of labor, production, community, power, and individual identity (J. Morgan Puett’s historical investigation of the garment/cottage industry, Alabama Chanin’s purposeful employment and education of women from rural Alabama as “stitchers” for her clothing).

Following in the lineage of artists and designers who advocated for social change and used dress as one of the ways to achieve this (Futurists, Constructivists, Arts and Crafts practitioners), these artists make the political personal and bring the weighty and complex topics of the day to the body and to the individual.

Artists represented in this exhibition include Alabama Chanin (AL); Lisa Anne Auerbach, Stephanie Syjuco (CA); Guerra de la Paz (FL); Jon Eric Riis (GA); Mark Newport (MI); Anne Lemanski (NC); Stephanie Liner, Gretchen Vitamvas, Cheryl Yun (NY); J. Morgan Puett (PA); Liz Collins (RI), and Donna Huanca (TX).

about the artist: Guerra de la Paz is the composite name that represents the creative team efforts of Cuban-born artists, Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz. What began as an idea for two individual artists to share a working studio in Miami's Little Haiti, has become an ongoing collaboration that has evolved into constant experimentation. The recipient of the 2008 SCOPE Foundation Grant for artist project “Under the Banyan Tree,” they are are represented in the Satchi Collection (London), 21C Museum Foundation (Louisville, KY), Frost Art Museum (Miami, FL), Miami Art Museum (Miami, FL), and The Cintas Fellows Collection.

about the gallery:
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a not-for-profit organization established in 1967 for aesthetic and educational purposes. Its mission is to encourage and support innovative explorations in the arts and to foster an exchange between a national community of artists and a broad public that will help realize the power of the arts to inspire and transform our world. The Arts Center serves as laboratory for the creation of new works, nurturer of interdisciplinary initiatives, originator of exhibitions, presenter and producer of performing arts, educator, publisher of critical writings, community builder, and advocate for issues affecting the arts.

Installation View: John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI. 2008 Guerra de la Paz, Sunt Omnes Unum, 2008, mix media sculpture consisting of 8 figures made with assorted clothing, each approx. 18x24x72in (46x61x183cm)
Installation View: John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI. 2008
Image courtesy of {CTS} creative thriftshop, New York