Electronic Arts Intermix, Nova York
This is not a love song
Charles Atlas. Hail the New Puritan, 1985.
This exhibition is not for those prone to motion sickness. At times the repeated flickering of colour and bits of sound are dizzying, reflecting the effects of information overload and mass consumption.
This is Not a Love Song is cleaved into two parts—the shared genealogy of video art and pop music, and the history of the music video. It features the work of diverse artists from Andy Warhol and John Lennon to Die Antwoord. Popular music and video manage to both challenge and conform to tradition and political correctness, while at times defining a new aesthetic.
Adel Abidin’s brilliant critique Three Love Songs (2010) stands out as the thematic centrepiece of this exhibition. Three Western women are presented singing Iraqi songs commissioned by Saddam Hussein to glorify his regime. All the visual cues tell us that these are typical sugar-coated love songs, but in fact the lyrics betray a murderous fanaticism. It’s a powerful way to spotlight the disparity between word and image.
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