Human Condition: “the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence… such as birth, growth, conflict, and mortality… including religion, philosophy, history, art, and sociology.”
I was personally invited by one of the curators to view Remnants of the Human Condition. You know, all exclu xclu (pronounced: ex(s)klOO skloo) style in my business inbox. What?! So I had to go. The synopsis was intriguing: (Joseph) Guay’s thought-provoking exhibit will examine the characteristics, events and situations that encompass human existence, such as birth, growth, conflict and mortality. “Remnants of the Human Condition” will explore the difficult topics in the media that attempt to sum up the human condition and will allow the audience to experience a differing visual approach that will broaden their views and beliefs. source
Most of the pieces were meticulously made from bullets, casings, gun powder, motor oil and glass-something my eyes had never seen. Just more proof that art is everything and anything can be made into art, right. I appreciate Guay’s efforts and the attention he’s bringing to certain issues, but I don’t think he quite gets it. In his statement, he does make some great points, but it goes much much deeper than “civilians” getting their hands on military grade weapons + ammunition. It’s more than a question of who should own guns. His exhibition highlighted shooting murders by cops as well as civilians, yet most of the victims depicted are Black [with the exception of Sandy Hook, which to me, is unbelievable]. Yet this significant detail was not once mentioned in his statement. The skin color and ethnic makeup of the shooting victims were never mentioned actually.
Maybe that was my bad, attending a show with the pre/misconception of an artist who, although not Black himself, I thought was an ally or at least believed that these murderers should be called out on their acts of terrorism. A man who felt the need to probe not only the reality that we are disproportionately attacked + executed, but why.
The show was interesting. Major visual appeal. The depiction of Trayvon with a head of Skittles facing a wall of black hoodies-the center hoodie in a crucified position- was quite haunting. And it always makes my heart sink thinking of this boy’s senseless murder. After learning of Guay’s vision and journey to create these works, I was a bit disappointed to learn that yes, he is an artist whose art reflects the times, but still doesn’t quite understand, or fails to state that he understands, that Black people and other people of color are under attack. Under attack by people that look like him, people that look like me, strangers, cops, and familiars alike. From every direction. Every day.
In Guay’s statement, he says he would just like people to expand whatever perspective they already have and truly think about the issues at hand. I hope he heeds his own hopes and continues to learn about the genocide of the victims he spotlights in his work.