St. Augustine, FL: Mike Taylor, 2020. Limited Edition. Person Woman Man Camera TV began as a meditation on the moment of quarantine without an end in sight, when human interaction stopped. Our daily intake of news, which had already been extremely online and not necessarily healthy, became solely online and outright dangerous. Mike Taylor began monitoring American quarantine in a drawing journal as Leslie Robison was experimenting with using calligraphy to illustrate our 45th president's ridiculous and false daily pitches to a captive media, a patently slow approach mirroring many people's return to gardening and crafts while unable to go to their jobs.
However, quarantine against COVID 19 soon exploded into a movement against police violence against Black people as the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery were replayed to a national audience who, for once, couldn't turn away from the news. Black Lives Matter went from a rallying cry to a movement. Quarantine ended for many when they flooded the streets in protests. But it was complicated. Caution against the virus kept a lot of people inside, establishing a second front of protest: amplifying Black voices on social media and moving money towards protest bail funds and relief, making life-affirming culture, supporting their communities. Nobody had a job, but everyone had a role.
The movement to defund corrupt police departments, to recognize and legislate the significance of Black and Brown life, and to reprioritize our massive federal budget for the good of people over profit, is happening, still, now, as we approach elections. Donald Trump has assumed his Nixonian role as a law and order autocrat, ordering federal troops into protest zones, empowered by Attorney General William Barr and his nearly 24% of appointed federal judges to act first, deal with constitutionality later.
It's not hyperbole to say that the soul of our nation hangs in the balance, first with the state and national elections of 2020, then with how we decide to move on beyond elections, because there is no more business as usual.
Mike Taylor's work explores the dynamics traditional destructive modes of capitalism as well as newer internalized modes of late- capitalist neuroses represented by social media influencers and “lifestyle brands”. His books, including No/Future, The Bigger Chill, Unlike, Love Song, and Present Perfect Progressive Tense have been collected and shown widely. He maintains a sense of humor.
Leslie Robison is interested in breaking down the language, symbols, and actions that define power in various relationships and within such institutions as art, politics, and academia. Mixed media drawing and performance become the means of investigating these structures. Whether they are drawn or knitted, scribbled or written as words, the lines in these drawings, paintings, and installations confound direct communication even as they reference the traditional language of art. By also examining her participation in these systems, the artist is simultaneously critical, questioning, and self-mocking. Tight, bright, and unmarred. Black cloth spine, printed paper boards. 13x11.25". np [24pp]. Illus. (color plates). Numbered limited edition of 20. Signed by the artist. Item #10437