ASPEN.- The Aspen Art Museum presents a very special exhibition featuring the work of Los Angeles-based artist Lisa Anne Auerbach, who has created a number of knit sweaters that address the language associated with American presidential campaigns. Employing numerous historical examples of slogans, songs, and speech, the project is intended to encourage people to actively participate in the political process. This non-partisan project includes sweaters installed at the Aspen Art Museum , in 19 shop windows around downtown Aspen , and worn by members of the community. Aspen residents and visitors alike are encouraged to visit the museum to take one of five sweaters on loan to wear for four-hour intervals.
The Nordic-style red, white, blue, and black sweaters combine traditional patterning and styling with text, providing warm and cozy history lessons and bringing a political dialogue to unusual spaces in a new medium. Auerbach began making political sweaters during the 2004 presidential campaign. Taking over where T-shirts left off, her sweaters combine textile design, craftsmanship, and luxurious materials into an object that will endure long after the political battles have faded away, causing the wearers to reflect on their own place within the political process and to consider how their own ideas and aspirations have transformed over time. In this project, she presents sweaters that are literally out of date, yet shockingly timely, reminding viewers that the language and themes have remained relevant.
Although campaign slogans are often thought of as empty exercises in brandingrepurposing the same slippery terms like leadership, prosperity, and changethey have a profound influence on the way politics are discussed, both in the media and around the dinner table. Campaign catchwords are connected to particular politicians, and their influence and utility extends well beyond the election season.
Auerbachs knitted posters of political slogans, as well as her project Tract Housea series of 63 tracts written by other people and printed in editions of 1,000 for the Contemporary Museum in Baltimoreare both currently being featured at New Yorks Printed Matter, Inc., as part of the artists If Nothing Changes, It Changes Nothing exhibition through November 1, 2008.