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Monday, October 8, 2012

Battleground States @ Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Oct. 5, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013)

UMOCA Presents Battleground States
Oct. 5, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013

Salt Lake CityBattleground States brings together local, national, and international artists who critically engage with the discourse of visual culture and gender studies. Through video, sculpture, installation, and photography, these artworks explore ideas of how figuration, the body and identity intertwine.

The exhibition narrative moves along fusions, ambiguities and disconnections between the figure and the self. The story begins with Utah artist Trevor Southey as his process of self-realization and style of figurative painting has made him an art historical pivot when discussing gender politics within the culture of Utah. Each artist addresses the difficulties of personhood, the pressures and rites of the everyday, the empowering symbols, the aesthetics of repression, and the eventual dissolution to reveal a location inclusive and open to anyone. Generations of artists from across the globe set the figure on a course in which concepts of coupling or completing the self are represented as spiritual quests.

"Gender duality is a cultural concept that deserves questioning and this collection of artists and ideas does that,” said Aaron Moulton, senior curator at UMOCA. “This exhibition brings an unprecedented roster of contemporary artists together to ask whether the body and its representations can tell us who we are."

Battleground States analyzes the space between traditional gender duality exploring alternative forms such as the third gender, a largely foreign concept in Western culture. In their non-Western roles, these alternative identities denote a space for possibility and transcendence. Battleground States can be seen as in-between states, not fitting neatly within a concept of black and white but rather an indeterminate and borderless state of gray. Moving from ideas of hybridity, dedifferentiation and alternative unions, the exhibition investigates notions of the “post-gender” as a way to better understand how our cultural diversities allow interpretations of a third space.

“We are thrilled that esteemed Utah artist Trevor Southey can serve as the starting point for the reflection, discussion, and community engagement that Battleground States is sure to engender in this state,” said Adam Price, executive director of UMOCA.  “Because of the presence of Trevor’s work, the exhibition is sure to have special resonance for Utah’s LGBTQ community, but, like Trevor’s work, the entire exhibition is also about something even more universal and sublime: the spiritual journey we each must undertake for meaning in our embodied identity. “ 

Artists: Daniel Albrigo, Absalon, Bas Jan Ader, Matthew Barney, Tobias Bernstrup, Robin Black, Nayland Blake, AA Bronson, Heather Cassils, Nicole Eisenman, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jonathan Horowitz, Trishelle Jeffrey, Amy Jorgensen, Asma Kazmi, Terence Koh, Annie Leibowitz, David Levine, Matt Lipps, Georges Minne, Carlos Motta, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, Bertrand Planes, Genesis Breyer P-orridge, Dean Sameshima, Jack Smith, Trevor Southey, David Wojnarowicz, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Guido van der Werve
Battleground States opens in conjunction with Jonathan Horowitz’s My Land/Your Land: Election ‘12 during UMOCA’s monthly First Friday series; Oct. 5, 8-10 p.m. with DJ Street Jesus, food, and a cash bar.
Contemporary artist Tobias Bernstrup will perform at UMOCA during First Friday. Benstrup creates artwork with videos, interactive pieces, live performances, and electronic music. His music has been dubbed "the torch-bearer of nostalgic techno synth harking back to an era of retro-futurism that never was,” says Moulton. Had David Cronenberg made a movie about Kraftwerk it would star Tobias Bernstrup.   
Battleground States and related programming is made possible in part through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the B. W. Bastian Foundation, IASPIS: The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists and the Utah Humanities Council.
The award-winning Utah Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits groundbreaking artwork by local, national, and international artists. Five gallery spaces provide an opportunity for the community to explore the contemporary cultural landscape through UMOCA’s exhibitions, films, events, classes, and presentations.

Founded in 1931, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has been recognized as Best Museum in the State of Utah for 2011 and 2012 and is a four-time recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Located at 20 S. West Temple; open Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Friday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is free. For more information call (801) 328-4201 or visit www.utahmoca.org.

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