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Intelligence The Body Politic: Video from The Met Collection – Met Breuer

The Met Breuer’s latest exhibition, The Body Politic: Video from The Met Collection, opened on Monday, June 20th. The four part video series consists of short films created by four different artists between 1995 and 2006 with each video exploring various aspects of success, injustice, the need for equality and also the desire for power.

Four small viewing rooms make up the exhibition, with each film playing on a reel where viewers can choose the order in which to watch and can also come in and out as they please. Each short film has an overarching theme, all relating back to that the idea the overall wellbeing of the body politic is the responsibility of the individual. The films include:

David Hammons's Phat Free (1995) uses a blank, dark screen and the use of sound to give viewers an experience in racial stereotyping, while, Arthur Jafa's Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death (2016) is made up of a combination of both historical the artists personal video footage. The film juxtaposes scenes of success, failure, sadness and love to the sound of Kanye West’s ‘Ultralight Beam.’ Steve McQueen's Five Easy Pieces (1995) film showcases five vignettes that reoccur in various intervals during the video. Each of the vignettes features a group or a single person of African descent performing for the camera, using abstract angles with a curious lens. Some of the actors acknowledge the camera while others ignore, forcing the audience to admit their physical, emotional and racial feelings towards the actors on the screen. Finally, in Mika Rottenberg's NoNoseKnows (2015) film, the global economy, overseas labor conditions and our desire for wealth are depicted with two settings – one in a New York City office and the other in a pearl making factory in Zhuji, China, that are edited to overlap and connect through a series of cause and effect actions.

The Body Politic: Video from The Met Collection will be exhibited at The Met Breuer through September 4, 2017

Written by Camron Senior Account Manager: Kelsey London

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Exhibition
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Kelsey London