Hearts and Minds

carriage trade
277 Grand Street, 2nd Floor
New York
Lower East Side
Apr 15th 2021 — Jun 13th 2021

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It was George Orwell who coined “doublethink,” the dangerous capacity of the citizenry to hold contradictory or morally wrong beliefs as a result of political indoctrination—but its terrifying instantiation comes from history, not fiction. “Hearts and Minds,” at carriage trade, a joint project with the Brussels-based gallery Rectangle, draws its name from a Lyndon B. Johnson quote: a war, he suggests, is won not by artillery but by psychology, a so-called hearts-and-mind warfare. Johnson could not win his war, even on its home front: the conflict in Vietnam would come to be seen as a wholly failed endeavor.

The works on view in this twelve-artist exhibition document, model, and challenge the ways in which public support morphs, mirrors, and subverts political pressure. Harold Ancart, Dan Graham, and Bodys Isek Kingelez contribute models: Kingelez presents a futuristic green maquette of a skyscraper, made the same year the Twin Towers were destroyed, launching a war in the Middle East; Graham presents Video Projection Outside Home (1978-1998), with svelte green felt doubling as the archetypal American green lawn; while Ancart’s concrete three-dimensional sculpture of a miniature swimming pool, Untitled (2019) [pictured], here serves as a dystopian reminder that such rarities exist for the masses, especially in New York City. Marina Pinsky contributes a series of intimate, Pietà-like photographs of gloved hands fingerprinting a child. Though made in 2016, it will pique the sight of anybody who's lived through the surgical-mask-and-latex-laden pandemic era—an ongoing reminder of the shortcomings of government. The hearts and minds, it seems, aren't won over just yet.

Harold Ancart, Untitled, 2019. Oil stick on concrete, 21 1/2 × 32 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Clearing Gallery, Brooklyn.