State of Fear
Dan Tague is an artist who isn’t afraid to use his artwork as a vehicle to protest or rather a mirror to hold up to the hypocritical face of American society to force some serious questions as to our motives. His recent work for his exhibition at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is no exception. The show is titled, ‘Cash Rules Everything Around Me‘ and involves large scale photographs of American Currency folded to reveal messages involving war and commerce. It’s a simple but genius idea that has conjured iconic images.
Tague lives and works in New Orleans. There is little doubt that the massive fuck up that was Hurricane Katrina has had an impact on his work and perception of his nation. His past show titles are case in point to this fact with titles like, ‘Paradise Lost, In Harm’s Way, Katrina & The Waves, America: Are We Drowning, American Muscle and Natural Disaster.’ It is good to see an artist being so active and using his work as a vessel to deliver his protest to a sad time in American history.
His current exhibition will be on display from March 29th through April 19 in New Orleans. If you are there please do take the time to check it out. I am sure it would be worth the time. You can view more images of the work in the show at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery website. I have posted some of my favorites below.
I Hate War
Hunt for Oil
Here is the artist’s statement about the show:
“The appeal and power of money are the issues at the core of this series. In a capitalist society cash rules everything. Society teaches us that you can buy love, happiness, and status through possessions. You can even right wrongs by taking away a bit of someone’s happiness through fines and lawsuits. Politicians buy votes through claims of lowering taxes, in other words letting us hold on to a little more of status… upper, lower, upper-lower class. Income tax, sales tax, and property tax all fund the war on terror, war on drugs, war on poverty, war on morality, etcetera. In fact our consumer pursuit of happiness is the cause and solution for all of these wars.
So in order to convey the allure of cash I relied on the aesthetic qualities of the bills. Detailed decorative engravings, masterful portraits and architectural renderings, and elegant fonts create a decadent allure. I further the effect with folds and twists to abstract the imagery and create a collage of wonderful images.
Folding the bills has another purpose to create narrative. The folds are precise and calculated in order to convey messages amidst the appeal of the abstracted imagery. The messages are political in nature ranging from local issues directed at rebuilding New Orleans with phrases like Unite NOLA and Home is a Tent. The proceeds of this photograph go to UNITY of Greater New Orleans to help out with the homeless crisis in our city. Other messages relate issues of terror and war with State of Fear and Hunt for Oil. While others deal with religion, God is American, and politicians, Trust No One. Then there is the ultimate praise of money in a capitalist world as the The American Idol.”