artist / participant
On View at The Hammer Museum, Walead Beshty's project, EMBASSY! A Dismal Science Waiting Room, takes the abandoned Iraqi diplomatic mission to the former DDR as its point of departure. Made in transit between Berlin and Los Angeles, the works in the show are an index of governmental limbo, the non-places of international travel, and the embassy itself, creating a constellation of objects which bear the marks of otherwise invisible forces. The exhibition is comprised of photographs distorted and abstracted by their travel through airport security x-ray machines, a sculpture "made" by the Department of Homeland Security, a direct dial phone connected to a provisional line at the embassy, and a "dismal science reading room" containing a collection of reproduced materials read in preparation for the project, encountered in its execution, and taken from the embassy itself. Beshty's work comments on the history of photography, as it inflects on our conception of place, on th e powers and limitations of the medium and on the ways in which it both depicts and transforms contemporary culture, producing works which lie unsteadily on a line between past and present, fact and fiction, day and night. His past series have shown desolate shopping malls and abandoned housing developments, eroticized consumer goods and strangely un-erotic nudes.
Hammer Projects: Walead Beshty is organized by Aimee Chang, former assistant curator and exhibition coordinator at the Hammer Museum. For more information on this project and other Hammer Projects, including an interview between the artist and the curator, please consult the Hammer website.
Walead Beshty: EMBASSY!