Apolitical Be Political
curated by Bill Gallo
July 30 - september 12, 2004
Friday, July 30, from
7:00 to 9:00pm
The Art Guild of Pacifica presents a
controversial exhibition of timely social commentary with “Apolitical Be
Political” in the aptly titled “West Wing” Gallery. Curated by Bill
Gallo, the exhibition will feature diverse points of view by artists
engaged in current issues. As a tongue-in-cheek nod to the divided
country – the left side of the gallery will feature politically charged
art, while the right side of the gallery will present artwork with no
political content. The exhibition promises to be ripe with humor and
strong political messages.
Interview with Bill Gallo, Curator:
Tell us a little about the concept behind “Apolitical Be Political”. How
did the idea evolve?
The concept evolved around an idea of Jerry
Barrish's that it would be a great year to do
Pacifica's first political show. The
apolitical was added out of a desire not to exclude anyone from being
able to show.
There seems to be a range of work including overtly political
statements, humorous, and even abstract images. How did you curate the
exhibition with such diversity?
Like curating any show, you find elements
that work together (size, shape, color, theme etc.) and group with
appropriate bridging elements to tie it all together. I admit it was my
trickiest one yet.
I’m curious to know if you planned to have the exhibition open the same
week that the 2004 Democratic Convention was taking place in Boston?
Actually, I believe it was originally planned to take place during both
the republican and democratic conventions, at least until the
republicans moved their convention back five weeks.
How do you feel this exhibition comments on the political climate in our
Like our current political climate today: it is eclectic and passionate.
|An Interview with Charlotte Seekamp,
SAC: Your work
in "Apolitical Be Political" is called "Anti War Medal". Tell us a
little about the symbolic elements in your piece.
CS: All are Vietnam war era items. So far, it doesn't seem like
there are any new icons that symbolize the current war in Iraq. And I
have always thought war is senseless. So I used what I still had. The
brass(?) peace sign was my mother's necklace that she wore for years.
My mother was an art major and an activist, so it is good to have
something of hers in one of my pieces. The next piece is a POW-MIA
bracelet that started being produced around 1970. The bracelet has a
name of a military person who was either a prisoner of war or missing in
action and the date that he went into that status. I wore that bracelet
for about 2 years until it broke in half shortly before the end of that
Where did you get the silver bracelet engraved with the words "Capt.
Ralph T. Browning, 7-8-66"?
CS: I am not exactly sure what organization put these bracelets
out. I first heard about them when Sonny & Cher on their T.V. show said
that they each wore a bracelet as concern for the lives that were being
affected by the Vietnam war. Shortly after seeing that a friend at my
high school, who volunteered with an anti war group, had a few for sale
(they were like $2) and I bought it from her and wore it until it broke,
shortly before the war ended.
SAC: What is the story behind the medallion that says "war is not
healthy for your children and other living things"?
CS: It was from an organization called "another mother for peace"
and they put out jewelry and cards and posters with this symbol that
says "war is not healthy for children and other living things" In later
years I came to find out that Donna Reed was one of the mothers who
helped start that organization which campaigned for an end to US
involvement in Vietnam.
SAC: The yellow ribbon is a powerful symbol of support. Do you
have any personal associations with the ribbons used in your work?
CS: I so hated that "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" song, its boring and
too sappy, but I used the yellow ribbon to attach the POW-MIA bracelet
because (as you say) yellow ribbons have become such an accepted and
powerful symbol for support & wanting a safe return. From a purely
artistic view, it added a different variation from the Red, White & Blue
ribbon that I used to attach the other elements, which I thought would
make the piece more interesting.
SAC: You seem to be a great believer of artists as activists. How
do you think artists empower people to act upon issues of local and
CS: For artists, I think it is one of the ways we know best for
expressing our feelings. This is one of the first times I have created
a piece of artwork specifically for a show, but I did it because I feel
very strongly that starting a war in the Middle East was wrong. As far
as encouraging other people, I really think it is mostly mega famous
celebrities of the performing arts who are more often able to use their
talent and craft to project their viewpoint. And it works I have Dixie
SAC: How do you feel this exhibition comments on the political
climate in our country today?
CS: I think it shows that a lot of people in the Pacifica area
have great concerns about the policies the current administration has
foisted upon the people in this country. And I am one who thinks these
policies have made this country much less safe!