Sam Durant: Iconoclasm | Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI

October 31 – November 23, 2019

More information on the exhibition

Sam Durant: Iconoclasm
Curated by Pedro Alonzo

In collaboration with University of Michigan, Dearborn, Mardigian Library, Hellenic Museum of Michigan, Detroit, and Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, MI

A panel discussion will take place on October 30th
5:30-6:30pm at Library Street Collective, 1265 Parkview St, Detroit, MI

Library Street Collective is excited to announce an upcoming exhibition and public project with Berlin-based American artist Sam Durant. Durant is an interdisciplinary artist whose works engage a variety of social, political, and cultural issues. Growing up in Boston in the 1970s, an educational culture emphasizing democratic ideals, racial equality and social justice created the foundation for Durant's artistic perspective. 

The artist has developed a rigorous research-based practice that extracts and reframes dominant historical narratives. The exhibition Iconoclasm presents a series of large-scale graphite drawings, which depict some of the most dramatic examples of iconoclastic destruction. The attacks on statues document a range of archival sources such as photography, newspaper and televised imagery, illustrating a broad historical and transnational arc. The drawings highlight the long history and international scope of image breaking and feature significant examples of religious, cultural and political destruction. Examples include religiously motivated acts from sixteenth century European Protestant destruction to contemporary Islamic fundamentalism, in addition to politically and culturally motivated acts, such as the 1871 toppling of the Column Vendome in Paris, in which artist Gustav Courbet participated, and against communist statues in Europe and Africa; the cultural revolution in China; removals of colonial statues in the Carribbean, Central and South America; and nationalist uprisings of 1956 in Hungary and Egypt, among others.

Durant's drawings are a reminder of the notion of a living history, reflecting humanity's need to celebrate and commemorate, as well as the compulsion to destroy symbols of a past that conflict with a specific dominant world view. Given the global current rise in political polarization, religious extremism and nationalism, this work presents a critical opportunity to explore humanity's relationship with the symbols of the past and how to address them as society changes. 

–Pedro Alonzo

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