I Dread to Think…
(1/13 – 3/19)
@Boston Center for the Arts
The work on view in I Dread to Think… balances in the anxious space between hope and fear, and perhaps falls more to the latter side. The exhibition, curated by Liz Blum, was developed out of interpretations of a global sense of unease ranging in issues from the broad to the particular. Interestingly, the thirteen participating artists all evade directly representing the object of our terror. Instead they negotiate the grey areas or statistics that typically make up our actual lived realities of dread. In our media culture that is filled with images of war zones, corrupt world leaders, and unending police brutality, our instincts beg to look away from the violent act itself. The work in this show, however, successfully entraps us in paying attention. One such piece is at first glance a theoretical text-based installation á la Lawrence Weiner. Once you get close enough to read the words, you find it is a partial list of every African American person killed from 2014-2015 by police, or in police custody. In another work the artist has created an app that allows you to volunteer yourself for random surveillance as you are followed by a stranger for one day. Taken together, the objects in this show succeed in asking for the continued participation of the viewer in ways that don’t pass swiftly from the mind.
By Maggie Jensen
Image credit: Nicole Maloof, An exercise in paranoia, 2015