Since Trump’s election, numerous exhibitions have attempted to address the seemingly endless horror of his presidency. But, how should we judge these shows’ efficacy? Is the quality of the included work enough or should viewers demand more practical political action? A visit to Petzel Gallery’s disappointing We Need To Talk… convinced me of the latter.
The exhibition’s proposed exploration of the many fraught issues currently under siege seemed promising. But, with an unwavering devotion to showing big name artists, half-assed attempts at engaging the general public and a convoluted donation strategy (the press release vaguely states, “A percentage of sales will be donated to any organization that seems appropriate to artist and collector.”), We Need To Talk… came out well short of its activist goals. So short, in fact, that the goals of the show itself were put into question.