David Zwirner, The Voting Booth Project,
Through October 25
Exhibition note: The original booths and artist commissions were donated to the Rema Hort Mann Foundation by Jamie and Peter Hort. Sale of the works through the RHM Foundation will benefit the Foundation's grant programs in support of cancer patients and visual artists. The Voting Booth Project is sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, September 11th Fund, and private donors.
In hindsight it’s not overly surprising Florida’s voting booths from the 2000 presidential election look like fold up furniture you find in the free section of Craigslist. After all these structures housed the poorly designed ballots that contributed to the still-disputed win for the Republicans in Florida. Eight years later, the problem of voting machines remains unresolved; the new Diebold electronic voting machines designed to address the issues of usability and design brought up in 2000 are reported to drop votes and they leave no paper trail. It remains entirely unclear what public servants are supposed to do to ensure an accurate ballot count.
As if to point to how little has changed, five of the original voting booths used in the 2000 Florida election have been repurposed by artists, with all but one just as rickety as they were in their original state. Commissioned by the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, The Voting Booth Project, now on display at David Zwirner Gallery, includes work by such politically minded contemporary artists Assume Vivid Astro Focus, Sandford Biggers, Marcel Dzama, Mickalene Thomas, and Fred Tomaselli.
The booth transformation varies from artist to artist though nobody in this show exudes confidence in the electoral process or its results. Sandford Biggers for example simply documents the demolition of his booth, the photographs and remnants now on display at the gallery. It’s not the most sophisticated message I’ve seen delivered in a gallery, but it serves its purpose. Similarly using their booth to suggest cracks in democratic electoral process, Assume Vivid Astro Focus wraps its cubicle in a viral red white and blue wall paper making it nearly impossible to see inside it properly. This problem can be fixed if viewers don the 3-D glasses provided though much like Diebold’s software, we know this eyewear to be far from perfect. The only thing I was able to see more clearly was the word “Bush”.
To read the full piece click here.