As part of Toward Common Cause, one of Alfredo Jaar’s better-known works, This Is Not America (A Logo for America) (1987/2014/2016), is presented at the SAIC Galleries. Visible from the street, the project features a sequence of projections which were originally displayed on a light board in Times Square, New York. While this project was first realized in 1987, in recent years it has been recreated in New York (2014) and London (2016).
This work by Alfredo Jaar is presented by the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as part of the initiative Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40, which is organized by the Smart Museum of Art in collaboration with exhibition, programmatic, and research partners across Chicago. Toward Common Cause is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and curated by Abigail Winograd, MacArthur Fellows Program Fortieth Anniversary Exhibition Curator, Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. Lead support for Rick Lowe: Black Wall Street Journey is provided by the Allstate Foundation. Additional support is provided through the Field Foundation of Illinois, the Visiting Fellows Program at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, and the National Academy of Design/Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Trust Fund for Mural Painting. In-kind support is provided by JCDecaux.
Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 explores the extent to which certain resources—air, land, water, and even culture—can be held in common. Raising questions about inclusion, exclusion, ownership, and rights of access, the exhibition considers art’s vital role in society as a call to vigilance, a way to bear witness, and a potential act of resistance. Presented on the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program, Toward Common Cause deploys the Fellows Program as “intellectual commons” and features new and recontextualized work by 29 visual artists who have been named Fellows since the award program’s founding in 1981.
[Work pictured: Alfredo Jaar, A Logo For America, 1987. Film still from digital color video, with sound, 10_25 min. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Lelong & Co., NY.]