One of my favorite “comfort movies”—those special films you can pop in the DVD player anytime or can’t resist finishing out if you catch it on cable—is Alexander Payne’s Election, from 1999. The many snappy lines and inspired comedic acting notwithstanding, it remains a great testimonial to the fact that one vote can indeed make a massive difference. On November 6, those of voting age who haven’t already done early voting will head to the election booths yet again to cast their ballot for congressmen and women, senators, governors, and of course, the President of the United States. While there really isn’t such a thing as an insignificant race in an election—every office signifying in some way a political decision made by the electorate—it is, of course, the presidential election that most visibly and comprehensively reflects the way the nation as a whole perceives itself and where it wants the country to go.
Rather than sit passively on the sidelines of this important election between two rival candidates/parties with often diametrically opposed visions of how the country should be run, CAM has welcomed a provocative work by New York-based artist Jonathan Horowitz–Your Land/My Land: Election ’12–into the lobby as a way for our audience to reflect on, or perhaps even cope with, the forthcoming election. The basics of the installation include the division of the museum’s main entrance space into blue and red carpeted halves; suspended video monitors continuously streaming MSNBC and Fox News broadcasts simultaneously; and portraits of Mitt Romney (leaning on the wall) and Barack Obama (presented above on the same wall), set to change position or remain static depending on the election’s outcome. Beyond the implied sense of participation of being immediately immersed within the work, CAM has held debate screenings and invites the public to watch the results of the elections the night of November 6.
The event will not only fulfill Horowitz’s vision for the work to function in a “public” capacity but offers St. Louisans an opportunity to truly feel part of a larger civic collective on such an important night. I hope you’ll come join to watch the results, but first, be sure to VOTE!!!!
By Dominic Molon, Chief Curator