The concept of 50/50, two parts equaling one whole, is represented in the physical structure and across our four curatorial platforms.
Lyndon Barrois Jr. (STL)
Addoley Dzegede (STL)
Kahlil Robert Irving (STL)
Doug Johnston (TULSA)
Dayna Kriz (STL)
WORK/PLAY – Danielle and Kevin McCoy (STL)
“It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, 6, or 7 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you.”
- James Baldwin, March 7, 1965
To whom and to where your allegiance lies has been the topic of discussion since civilizations were first formed. Throughout history, colors and symbols equating to a collective identity, have served to signal warning or camaraderie among communities of people. The American flag contains a curious irony in its formation, sewn by the hands of a woman who did not have the right to vote nor own land, but was making a flag that would symbolize freedom. The 13 colonies that are represented by its stripes are discordant from the Native American tribes that helped the colonizers to survive their first “New England” winters.
ANOTHER COUNTRY features seven artists based in, or originally from the Midwest, who will use the flag as a point of departure to explore ideas of nationhood, while resisting blind nationalism. Flags can be seen as sacred objects that reinforce the invisible barriers between territories, and in many cases, perpetuate psychological barriers that stagnate political evolution. The U.S. American flag has remained unchanged for 56 years, much like the many biases towards its citizens of color. The recent controversy of Colin Kaepernick refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag disrupts the unquestioned protocol of professional sports. In a league that is 70% black, his protest has reminded us that the black bodies we root for in the arena, are part in parcel to the ones violated on city streets. It is a refusal to pledge to the current conditions of nationalism it represents.
Each of these artists engages in diverse practices, across a variety of media and formal strategies. Their collective interests in silenced histories, belonging, and cognitive dissonance will generate works from diverse material processes. The flag as a structure has been interrogated through a series of literal and metaphorical alterations to its form and conceptual foundation. The artists in this exhibition represent a diversity of production, in conversation with a global discourse.
Perhaps a change in the flag’s image could more concretely signal a change in ideology. A change in ideology should necessarily be followed by a change in policy. ANOTHER COUNTRY aims to combat the regimented sequence of how colors, patterns, and symbols have been used in flags, to create a critical space for political, cultural, and social engagement. Through dismantling an iconic symbol, these artists offer alternative visions of the world, in which symbolic representations intersect with lived realities.
Edited by: Lyndon Barrois Jr.
This exhibition was selected as a part of 50/50's first Open Call for Exhibition Proposals and was organized by Kahlil Robert Irving.
About the Open Call for Exhibition Proposals:
50/50 for the first time is accepting exhibition proposals. This announcement comes in conjunction with ATTACH FILES, 50/50's first exhibition of the year inviting participants to submit 8.5x11" images to print and have displayed in the gallery. The open call for exhibition proposals is not restrictive to geographic region or to age. 50/50's staff will select one proposal for our August exhibition, which will open Friday, August 18th, 2017. Emphasis will be placed on submissions that exemplify 50/50's mission:
50/50 is a platform for fostering progressive dialogues of equally exhibited local and national artists. With an emphasis on exhibiting emerging to mid-career artists who take risks within varying disciplines, 50/50 will broaden Kansas City’s art ecology. Constructed from two shipping containers, the venue will expand upon the concept of 50/50 while activating unused urban space in the West Bottoms.
The selected proposal will be provided administrative support and resources. This includes stipends of $70 per exhibiting artist paid by 50/50, graphic design work for didactic materials, marketing and more.
Lyndon Barrois Jr.
Brown Paper Flag Test
Butcher paper, ink, LaserJet print, cedar and chipboard frame, custom lapel pin
38 x 40"
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Indigo dye, batik, cotton
Kahlil Robert Irving
“Many Men, many, many, many, many, many men, wish death pon me”
“Lord I don’t cry no more, Look to the sky no more”
“Have mercy on me”
Three printed flags, metal poles
5 x 6'
American-flag rope and nylon thread
47 x 13 x 12"
American-flag rope and nylon thread
9 x 9.5 x 9.5"
Cotton bed sheets, cotton thread, leather, wood and metal
Black rip stop, fabric ink, thread, grommets, pole
60 x 30"
September 2016 - present
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