Sue Coe "Mad as Hell! New Work (and Some Classics)"

Galerie St. Etienne

poster for Sue Coe "Mad as Hell! New Work (and Some Classics)"

This event has ended.

The current exhibition juxtaposes work from Cruel and “Porkopolis” with a selection of paintings and drawings on other subjects, in the process tracing Coe’s artistic development from the start of her career in the 1980s and situating the meat work in the broader context of capitalism. Overall, the presentation offers a scathing indictment of the exploitation by the strong of the weak, from the battlefield to the farmyard, from Johannesburg to the American heartland. Many of the earliest works employ a collage technique, in which provocative texts are pasted, like ransom notes, into the images. The art in Cruel adopts a similar tone, often combining graphic, horrific images with incendiary slogans. The artist’s anger is palpable.

Yet the evident anger of Sue Coe’s work belies a fundamental optimism: that the process of witnessing is enough to inspire change; that if people only knew the truth, they would change. Certainly these past twenty-five years have not been easy for critics of capitalism, which has lacked any effective ideological opposition since the fall of the Soviet empire. During the Cold War era, capitalism and democracy were considered the inseparable twinned foes of totalitarian Communism. But the Great Recession has made it abundantly clear that unrestrained free-market capitalism stifles democracy by creating unequal access to wealth and power. Coe, who recently became an American citizen, places great faith in grassroots democracy. “You have to communicate with your elected representatives at least once a day,” she declares. “It’s like cleaning your teeth; it’s good mental hygiene.” The animal rights movement is gradually progressing from its first phase, education, to its second, involving legislation and public policy. The Internet provides a fantastic organizing tool, making it possible to reach a global audience in seconds and acting as an effective counter to media titans like Rupert Murdoch. “For everything the corporate machine can do to us,” says Coe, “we still have the power combat it. The present situation is very, very hopeful.”

[Image: Sue Coe "Riot: Fowl the Cage" (2011) graphite and watercolor on heavy white Strathmore Bristol board. 40 x 30 in.]



from April 17, 2012 to July 03, 2012

Opening Reception on 2012-05-10 from 17:00 to 20:00
Gallery Night on 57th Street


Sue Coe

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