Magazine article Artforum International

Margaret Crane/Jon Winet

Magazine article Artforum International

Margaret Crane/Jon Winet

Article excerpt

MINCHER/WILCOX

Margaret Crane/Jon Winet's installation The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives, 1992--a coolly damning, nonpartisan inquiry into the nature of political subjectivity--presented a sobering caveat to election-night euphoria. Upon entering the gallery, one first encountered a black chair before a white wall on which was printed this message: "Hope shimmers and fades; it washes the present in a flattering light and shapes the future into something that won't give you the heebie-jeebies." On the chair lay a black sleeping-mask and a tape player with headphones. This piece, Voting Booth sfx loop, 1992, consisted of various crowd noises punctuated by occasional single-voice clarities underneath which pulsed a regular, throbbing sound--the heartbeat of America. Voting booth as womb-room.

Rising, one entered a corridor in which hung two large grids of 120 framed 8-by-10-inch photographs taken at last year's Democratic and Republican conventions. Many of the photographs depicted a central figure surrounded by decentered public chaos, focusing primarily on the political gaze of anonymous conventioneers and known political players as they faced the stage. Stars and extras alike were caught in the glow of the conventional aura like deer in headlights. The wall text at the end of the corridor read: "Tonight is the night the stars come out."

After a videotaped interview with a campaign worker who spoke in that strange mixture of cliche and jargon that is campaign rhetoric, one came upon three, tinted, close-up photographs of earnest-young-white-(Marlboro) men looking to the future--the constitutive political gaze in green, blue, and magenta. On the adjacent wall hung a close-up of a baby, whose gaze was less earnest, more curious, prepolitical. One studied the faces of pols and child, noting similarities (all seemed equally untouched by experience) and differences (the pols appeared to be anesthetized--overstimulated and numb). …

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