Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
To oct. 7
So dire is the state of the Republic that even casual gallerygoers wonder where the pressing political art is. The question is a telling one: How can we be this fucked and not have any decent art to show for it? The thing is, art has its own problems, not many of which can be attributed to illiberal authoritarianism; socially activist artworks that strive for formal artistic advances are said to lack political pith, and vice versa. Louis Cameron’s paintings, currently showing at G Fine Art, are a case in point. The painter has appropriated visuals made by the Bush administration, including the emblematic terror-alert system’s five colors, which he drolly repurposes in Severe, High, Elevated, Guarded, Low. Of course, Cameron has also borrowed the opposition’s colors, which are mostly the same: For We the People Say No to the Bush Agenda(pictured), the artist adorns the canvas with bold acrylic stripes to ape the Artists Against the War flag design (which is itself an adaptation of the rainbow flag). As a clarion call to power—“aux armes, citoyens!”—these works aren’t much. But the paintings, and in particular those drawn from the military ribbons that decorate a serviceman’s breast, make for excellent Pop plays. Afghanistan Campaign, a painting of the medal given to soldiers who serve in Operation Enduring Freedom—and which features colors derived from both the United States’ and Afghanistan’s flags—does not illuminate our foundering campaign against the Taliban and terrorism. It does, instead, capably illustrate Cameron’s thesis that even simple designs can be bent to propagandistic ends—does so with an art-historical nod toward Gene Davis, Ellsworth Kelly, and Morris Louis. The exhibition is on view 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Oct. 7, at G Fine Art, 1515 14th St. NW, Suite 200. Free. (202) 462-1601. (Kriston Capps)