29/6 - 16/9 2018
curator: Cortney Lane Stell
“In the summer of 1973 I was in a small town in Kentucky in the scourging heat watching this huge theater of a TV which took the space of a merry-go-round and had three lights—green, red, blue, and there was just one air conditioner which you could stand in front of to get cool. Then on one of three major networks that happened to be on that gargantuan TV, two strange things happened: images of ‘70s gas guzzlers lining up at filling stations for hours in lines that were blocks long. It was the beginning of the energy crisis . . . Then a second thing: Tricia Nixon, who I believe had a White House wedding—a big deal as there are not many—and there's this story of her turning up the air conditioner on high so she could have a fire going all in the midst of a DC summer . . .” – Devon Dikeou
Tricia Nixon: Summer of 1973 is a visually minimal exhibition comprised of works by American artist, Devon Dikeou. The exhibition includes three large-scale installations that engage viewers’ senses—from the unusual feeling of cold and hot air to the sound of 1970s era American radio. The works in the exhibition hold a ghost-like recollection of a particular moment in American history—a moment when excess, economy, and ecological issues collide.
The exhibition captures the essence of America during the 1970s, while drawing parallels to present-day crises and politics in the United States. Dikeou has described the exhibition as a bricolage—an assemblage of common objects. However, the work is also conceptually-driven, pulling from both public record and the artist’s memory of the summer of 1973. That summer, she remembers a gas crisis hit the United States whilst a story circulated of how the President’s daughter lavishly operated the White House by keeping both a fire and the air-conditioner running simultaneously—producing an opulent mix of cool and warm air. Dikeou’s representation of this memory in her work touches on ideas of America’s overconsumption, neglect of wider environmental considerations, and desire to control personal comfort.
Through a lens that is at once critical, elusive, and amusing, Dikeou’s works stimulate a cross-cultural discourse regarding “the land of the free”. Tricia Nixon: Summer of 1973 is latently uncanny, as the audience is confronted with an exhibition space that feels vacant yet occupied, minimal yet excessive—and altogether, undeniably American.
This exhibition is a collaboration between Center for Contemporary Art FUTURA and Black Cube, a nomadic museum based out of Denver-Colorado.