“Rhetorical Image” is an international group show that examines how artists of different backgrounds and generations use their work to respond to political conditions. Guest Curator Milena Kalinvoska invited an international group of artists— from Europe, the Soviet Union, Brazil, Japan, Canada and the U.S.—whose work emphasizes the importance of representation and images in thinking about propaganda and other issues of ideology and official culture. Considering this legacy of Conceptual art of the 1960s, the exhibition consists of multimedia installations, wall drawings, paintings, collages, and mixed-media sculpture. With Susan Cahan, Julie Ault, and Alida Vega, Kalinovska also organized the Resource Room, an area where visitors can respond to the exhibition and relate their experiences visiting museums. “Rhetorical Image” and the Resource Room are both concerned with exploring the political efficacy of art as well as the individual’s relationship with larger sociopolitical forces.
“For ‘Rhetorical Image,’ I have gathered together a number of artists who attempt to counter rhetoric that is empty, manipulative, and corrupt by representing it critically in their work. These artists work with images, which may or may not incorporate texts, to investigate the language of ideological and social manipulation by revealing its devices. They address political, social, and cultural issues ranging from aggression and oppression, to troubling social and environmental questions….
‘Rhetorical Image’ has also been shaped at a time when what constitutes an ‘international’ exhibition is being carefully examined. With the ‘globalization’ of the arts, the question of the ‘other’ has been featured largely in the discussion. While it is probably that many artists who have not been given opportunities to exhibit in important shows will now be able to take part, it is also likely that the greater part of the world will continue to be left out.”1