Power, Corruption and Lies


June 23 – July 23, 2004

Taking its cue from New Order’s 1983 album of the same name, “Power, Corruption and Lies” gathers together in a small room some work that gazes out across the landscape of Western capitalism and registers what it finds there: the septic tanks and sewers that irrigate our deepest fears and anxieties. These are the artifacts of a society for which public outcome is brokered on the john of private agreement and distrust is basted in the sunny opportunities of the fitful Dream.

It is a landscape that reflects overtly political contradictions, seen in pieces such as Andy Warhol’s Vote McGovern poster, depicting a leering, green-faced Richard Nixon, or Robert Gober’s immaculately faked newspaper stacks, or Richard Phillips’s portrait of George W Bush. Or it might echo the relationship between the individual and power: Chris Burden’s photograph of himself firing a pistol at an airliner, Felix Gonzales-Torres’s puzzles, Cady Noland’s images of Lee Harvey Oswald and Patty Hearst. Or, it might assume a more oblique stance in relation to power and the location of “truth,” seen in prints by Bruce Nauman, Richard Prince and Ed Ruscha.

The smell of putrefaction that tends to curl around the shoulders of power is not, of course, a phenomenon peculiar to the early 21st century. Still, the scent is strong right now. In the current circumstances, it seems a not inappropriate moment to consult the work of some artists who have inhaled deeply.

Artists in the show include Lutz Bacher, Chris Burden, Jeremy Deller, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Jonah Freeman, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Phillip Guston, Richard Hamilton, Aleksandra Mir, Bruce Nauman, Cady Noland, Richard Phillips, Richard Prince, David Rees, Ed Ruscha, Rudolph Stingel, Andy Warhol, Garry Winogrand, David Wojnarowicz, and Christopher Wool, among others.

Curated by Adam McEwen and Neville Wakefield.