Artist’s Talk and Reading, Saturday 1pm, April 18, 2009
Accompanying the exhibition “…and Nixon’s coming” | the draft, ZONE: CONTEMPORARY ARTS presented Artist’s Talk and Reading. Mr. Baker read from “…and the Nixon’s coming” | the draft and discussed the works in the exhibition as well as relationship between criticism and fiction.
“ . . . and Nixon’s coming” combines art, fiction, and design to create a multifaceted narrative that arcs from the Moscow show trials of 1937 to President Nixon’s resignation, in 1974. Divided into four sections, the work views the turbulent artistic and social ferment of the mid-20th century through the experiences of the story’s main character, Kirby Holland, and through his artwork, including academic drawings, comic-book illustrations, and amalgams of Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and graphics. Whether figurative or abstract, none of the art functions as illustration; rather, the images create a parallel track to the text. Holland progresses from earnest art student to member of an army unit charged with repatriating Nazi loot to comic-book illustrator caught up in McCarthy-era witch hunts to determined and eclectic painter at a time—the 1970s—when painting was viewed by many as irrelevant, if not dead.