Dedicated to Mumia Abu-Jamal
February 3 - March 31, 2001

smart art press catalogue

Santa Monica - Track 16 Gallery is pleased to announce "Capital Art," a group exhibition exploring issues of police brutality, the prison system, the death penalty, and the culture of punishment. "Capital Art" will run from February 3 through March 31, 2001, with an opening reception on February 3 from 6-9 p.m.

In this time of unparalleled national prosperity and lack of government support for the arts, the art world tends to favor the production of marketable rather than socially minded (much less politically critical) work. Yet in the absence of this public attention, countless artists continue to devote themselves to social and political issues and produce powerful works that challenge the course of contemporary culture. In featuring the work of many of these dynamic artists, "Capital Art" aims to bridge the prevailing divide between art and politics and demonstrate the powerful potential of their union.

"Capital Art" will feature painting, video, photography, and installation work from nearly forty artists, including Sandow Birk, Chaz Bojorquez, Exene Cervenka, Robbie Conal, Brian Cross, Charles Dickson Diane Gamboa, Salomon Huerta, Glenn Kaino, Keith Antar Mason, Daniel J. Martinez, Mear, Arnold Mensches, Kori Newkirk, Ruben Ortiz Torres, John Outerbridge, Sheila Pinkel, Dread Scott, John Valadez, and others. All of the work included addresses issues of police brutality, the prison system, the death penalty, repression, race, and identity with a critical and politically conscious eye. For example, Dread Scott's installation Historic Corrections explores issues of race and capital punishment by juxtaposing images of an early 20th century lynching, black and Latino "urban youth," and a life-size electric chair. Sandow Birk's recent paintings and drawings, taken from his "Prisonation" series, parody the myth of California as promised American paradise by presenting California prisons rendered in the style of traditional American landscape painting. Robbie Conal's Dis Belief painting which was the original for the poster that papered Los Angeles in the Spring of 2000 is a poignant gesture of protest against the corruption scandals that have dishonored the Los Angeles Police Department in the last year.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Smart Art Press will publish a small catalogue that will include statements by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Subcommandante Marcos, as well as essays by artists Mariana Botey and Sergio Munoz Sarmiento, and professor Mark LeVine, and poetry by Saul Williams, Jerry Quickley, and Zack de la Rocha.

And take note: Seditious Beat's DJ Counterstryke and DJ Icy Ice, from the world famous Beat-Junkies, will spin for the opening reception.

ALSO, MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Track 16 Nights - Track 16's eclectic series of readings and performances will resume in February with a number of promising events related to the exhibition, including spoken word, live music, documentary film, and panel discussions with artists and activists.

Track 16 Night #2: February 16
DESCONTENTO TOTAL. Mentiritas (featuring members of Ozomatli, Yeska, and Beastie Boys) and Original Aztlan Underground. Also, Manifesto, a 16 min. documentary by Mariana Botey. Event organized by Amy B.

Top image: Dread Scott, Turn of the Century, 1999
Bottom image: Rafael Gallardo, Power of State, 2001