The End: Analyzing Art in Troubled Times

Face of God by Robert Davis and Michael Langlois, The End: Analyzing Art and Troubled Times, The Andy Warhol Museum

The End, a group exhibit curated by Eric Shiner at the Andy Warhol Musuem, is a reflection on death, doom, violence, and the collapse of civilization. Relevant Warhol images hang alongside works by contemporary artists responding to the sense of dread felt in our current time of economic recession and war.

Viewing the show, you can imagine you are entering a science fiction narrative, perhaps frightfully close to this moment. Enter past the names of government militarty projects, to a white slab on the floor with the second amendment carved in Latin (the right to bear arms), and head toward nuclear explosions. Then look all around the room at the world in collapse. Police hellecoptors shine lights down on suburban homes, and suburban housewives pull back the curtains to reveal soldiers in some sort of military operation. Wander toward panoramic photographs of the seven deadly sins, depicting what people might indulge in after civilization has utterly collapsed.

It's a story with an unhappy ending, that begins at the end. The end here is purposely bleak. One might leave the exhibit bewildered if convinced of the inevitability of the narrative presented. The optomist might leave the exhibit grateful that things aren't that bad, and the activist might leave more determined to change the direction of the narrative toward an end that he does not bring upon himself.