Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
In collaboration with Art Practical, an online art publication based in San Francisco, CA, MCASB presents a solo exhibition by artist and writer, Bean Gilsdorf. For the past decade Gilsdorf has worked in a range of mediums to explore relationships between historical accounts, emblems of authority, and media representations that influence our perception of current events. At MCASB she expands on a recent series of work that focuses on a history of U.S. celebrity political figures, specifically those with a Hollywood past. The exhibition will feature a new commission of sculptural textile wall works that consider the making of political symbols and myth through the image of former President Ronald Reagan. Gilsdorf is interested in the ways in which the media and show business continue to infiltrate the realm of politics. She brings attention to the image-making industry’s transmission of certain symbols of power and fame. In Gilsdorf’s accumulation of source material she investigates the meanings behind certain motifs and idiosyncrasies—for example, in a hairdo, or a handshake—and highlights these visual details in her work, using varying textures and contortions. The artist’s deconstruction of popular images of our nation’s history—circulated on news and entertainment channels and in mass-market history books—offers a lens of criticality to how we mythologize presidential history, and, extensively, to the electoral events leading up to this exhibition.