Five Reviews of Hubris
Corpulentus in Rhode Island
(Other Reviews, and Articles)
New England online review of the show. by Doug Norris. His
review also appeared in a slightly different form in an article
below. Pdf file available here.
|South County Independent- North East Independent, April 27, 2006, Rhode Island|
text of the above article is here below
South County Independent - North East Independent, April 27, 2006 C1 & C5
Physical and emotional horrors of war focus of two shows
" Hubris Corpulentis," Art Hazelwood's satirical look at modern warfare is on display at the University of Rhode Island Library until tomorrow. Pictured is his engraving, "Liberty Brought to Baghdad."
Examining the art of making war
By Doug Norris
Arts & Living Editor
At the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, a group of students put up 1,000 green stakes in the quad, each representing 100 civilian Iraqi deaths since the war began. They also planted 26 white stakes, each symbolizing 100 American deaths. Within two days, all of the green stakes had been ripped out of the ground and scattered. The white ones were left standing.
The art project and subsequent vandalism got people talking. Organizers decided to uproot the white stakes as well, leaving them strewn among the green, as the face of war at Holy Cross.
Passion and outrage fuel both sides of the war debate, but only recently have protesters found a vision to go with their voice. Suddenly the shooting gallery of Iraq is a target for the art galleries of America.
Two local exhibitions are a case in point. Both "Fallujah Blues," an installation by North Kingstown artist Russ Smith that inhabits the Boss Gallery at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston, and "Hubris Corpulentis," a mix of satire and art by San Francisco's Art Hazelwood on display at the University of Rhode Island Library Gallery, take dead aim at the Iraq War in exhibits that will undoubtedly provoke thought and stir emotion.
The centerpiece of Smith's installation is the rubble in the middle of the room, a chaos of blown-apart bricks and cinderblocks, boots and burnt rags, scattered sand and pieces of metal. Hanging overhead from the light fixtures are black drapes representing charred clothing.
It is a still life of modern war, a fragmented scene of a truck bombing that has become all too familiar an image, found objects that represent the barbed wire, rusted iron, jagged concrete and twisted metal landscapes of the battlefield.
Exploding out from the main installation are sculptures, posters, photographs, writings and other media.
A poster of George Bush's mug is presented as a kind of anti-Uncle Sam. Underneath the president is a two-toned word: DISOBEY, with the first syllable a separate color from the second two. On another wall an American flag hangs upside down. The lyrics to John Fogarty's prescient anti-Vietnam War song, "Fortunate Son," are exhibited. There is also an anecdote about the disconnect between the powerful and the poor, a news item about President Bush called "A Day in the Life of a Millionaire's Son."
The story of "Fallujah Blues" unfolds on two walls in large text. It starts in the manner of a fairy tale: "Once upon a time, in Holland, Michigan, a man named Edgar Prince started up a small automotive parts supply business." The resulting narrative tells a chilling story in journalistic detail about the horrific deaths of four Americans in the city of Fallujah on March 31, 2004. Along the way it chronicles the extent Of secret involvement by ultra-conservative influence peddlers, reading like the postscript to President Eisenhower’s fateful warning about "the military-industrial complex" and its role in American policy making.
It's a searing piece of writing, raising questions about the privatization of modern warfare and the clandestine nature of military companies like Blackwater USA, which trained the four U.S. citizens who were killed in Fallujah. Even more disturbing are photographs on the opposite wall, covered in shrouds, each an image of a corpse mutilated, burned and blown apart.
Grisly and unsparing, Smith's multi-media installation reverberates with the horrors of war in images and words that won't be found in the daily sound bites, press conferences and talking head shows.
Whereas Smith aims for the gut in a matter-of-fact style, Hazelwood stirs what Mark Twain called the "American cocktail," that mix of outrage and satire that lies at the heart of American political humor.
In a series of prints - woodcuts, lithographs, linocuts, screenprints, etchings and engravings - Hazelwood skewers America's love affair with war. Some scenes, like "Four Horsemen," are apocalyptic. Others, like "Requiem for Dionysos," are mythic. Flags, skulls, stars, coins, crosses and guns are recurring symbols.
Most scenes satirize me corporate connection to war, with America represented by coin-clutching fat cats.
The woodcut "Trouble for Uncle Sam in the Green Zone" shows U.S. soldiers crammed precariously at the top of a mosque-shaped battle tower as coins, bombs and copies of the Geneva Convention of War Crimes fall upon insurgents below.
" In the Balance" reveals those same ballooning CEOs in contrast with the huddled masses of American Indians, Mexicans, Vietnamese and other cultures obliterated in the name of free enterprise. From "War Machine" to "Trickle Down," "Cronyism" to
" Victory Parade," the marriage of money and military is presented in all of its grotesque obscenity.
Sex, second only in importance to the dollar, is represented in images of bikini-clad women nuzzling up to weapons of war. "Liberty Brought to Baghdad" features an objectified Lady Liberty, bound and gagged in lurid pose, spreading angelic wings over corpulent soldiers.
" Memorial for the Dead, Iraq" is one of the most visually powerful pieces in the exhibition, a poster-sized image rendered with moody color and stylish symmetry. Iconic, cartoon-like soldiers are made from black bayonet rifles wearing helmets. The little figures look as if they could have been Disney characters, or wartime Smurfs, scattered around the scene of an oil tower in the center. A pipeline runs through it, and liquid black tornado clouds spin out of control.
Coupled with the prints is a sardonic Monopoly spoof called Iraqopoly. The game includes such features as "(4) New Dictator 'Elected' You're Free to Go; (6) Invade a Neighboring Country Get Iranopoly Too!"
" Hubris Corpuientis," which; translates to mean "overweening pride," offers political satire in the vein of the old Punch magazine cartoons with the mythic and aesthetic qualities that echo (and sometimes allude directly to) 15th-century engraver Albrecht Durer. In Hazelwood's vision, violence and romance, sex and bombs, join company in images that equate contemporary America with the age of the Roman bread and circuses, a time of individual hedonism and communal apathy. Some emperors fiddle while the nation burns, he suggests; others play horseshoes.
" Hubris Corpulentis" will be on display at the URI Library through tomorrow. "Fallujah
Blues" will be on exhibit at the Courthouse Center for the Arts through Sunday.
|The Good 5¢ Cigar
The University of Rhode Island Student Newspaper
text of the above article
The Good 5¢ Cigar
The University of Rhode Island Student Newspaper
Artists use work to portray political messages
By: Jennifer Scungio
Issue date: 4/7/06 Section: News
04/07/06 - To some, art is a form of personal or emotional expression, but to contemporary artist Art Hazelwood, it is a medium for political expression. Political art was the topic of a panel discussion held in the Galanti Lounge of the University Library, titled "Political art: timely and timeless." Hazelwood, featured panelist and current guest artist in the library, said the best political art will knock you in a certain way." [Political art] is an attempt to engage the world by other means," Hazelwood said
His artwork, titled Hubris Corpulentus, depicts satirical images of the war in Iraq with the hope to bring a message to the community. Etching, screen-print, lithography and relief prints make up Hazelwood's black-and-white collection.Hazelwood said his series is an attempt to show anger and frustration through a series of prints. "I started out with the war on terror before the Iraq war … I had the feeling things were getting out of control," Hazelwood said. The panelists included Wendy Roworth, chair and professor of art, David Berona, director of the Lamson Library at Plymouth State College and scholar of woodcut novels, and Bill Van Siclen, an art critic at The Providence Journal.Each panelist presented pieces of political art to about 50 members of the URI community.
Roworth presented several pieces of historical artwork dealing with disaster and violence in a time of war.Roworth said sculptures of leaders such as George Washington, historical paintings, films, political cartoons and caricatures are some of the many different ways politics are expressed through art." The tradition in [Hazelwood's] work in black and white goes straight back to the Renaissance," Roworth said. Van Siclen presented artwork by Rhode Island artists. One of the pieces was a print titled "Crucifixion" by Fritz Eichenberg, former head of the URI art department." His artwork often references World War II," van Siclen said. " Political artwork disappeared for awhile," Berona said. "Now it is coming back among artists and finding a larger audience because of polarization of American politics and the war in Iraq."Berona presented pieces depicting suffering and injustice.
Galen Johnson, director of the Honors program and professor of philosophy, introduced each panelist and moderated the discussion.Johnson concluded the presentations with political artwork of images of the Vietnam War.
Hazelwood graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1983 with a degree in Fine Arts. Johnson said Hazelwood has traveled widely and his artwork has been published in literary journals, art publications and trade magazines. Johnson said Hazelwood's work is frequently published in San Francisco's newspaper for the homeless, Street Sheet.Hazelwood has also published two books of woodcuts titled "Forest Song" and "Promenade."
Roworth said using jarring, tense abstract images makes artwork more dramatic.Some of the satirical commentary prints on display include "Liberty goes to Baghdad" which depicts lady liberty bound, similar to a crucifixion, by soldiers.Hazelwood said sexualism of the war is prevalent. He expressed this view in one of his prints titled "Romance of War." The piece shows a group of bikini-wearing women over a cannon wearing gas masks.
Students agreed that the images were emotional. " The images were moving" Cortnee Connor said. "It was a proclamation of the war being unjust."
" I like the messages, but not the actual images," sophomore Josh Mertsch said. "The way it looked made you look at it for what it meant." Within the collection on display in the library gallery is a game Hazelwood created titled "Iraqopoly" which parodies the popular board game Monopoly. The goal of the game is to "Get to Baghdad then spin for an extra strategy." Some of the pieces players can choose to play as are the Bush Administration, Saddam Hussein, Civilians, Halliburton and U.S. Artillery.
Karen Ramsay, acquisitions librarian, was able to bring Hazelwood's work to URI." I heard about his work and wrote [Hazelwood] an e-mail if he would be interested in coming and he said yes. [His artwork] is very powerful and great for an academic setting," she said. Hazelwood's exhibit will be showcased in the first floor gallery of the University Library until April 28. The URI Honors Program and Visiting Scholars Committee, URI Center for the Humanities and University Libraries sponsored the event.
|South County Independent- North East Independent, April 6, 2006, Rhode Island|
From the Providence Phoenix, March 31, 2006
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