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October UBS 12 X 12 Presents Industry of the Ordinary at Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
Industry of the Ordinary, Democracy, 2004. Courtesy of Industry of the Ordinary.

CHICAGO, IL.- Neon political signs and an allusion to an illicit affair are theatrically presented behind a curtain that suggests a voting booth at the October UBS 12 x 12 New Artists/New Work exhibition. Industry of the Ordinary uses the element of audience participation as well as the charged atmosphere surrounding this year’s presidential election to present ideas about the private and public consequences of important decisions.

This exhibition features two neon works, titled Democracy, originally created in response to the proliferation of electoral signs dominating the landscape during the presidential election of 2004. The signs display the phrase “VOTE FOR ME” in both Arabic and English, and the work reaches new levels of significance as the 2008 presidential election draws near. A new photograph is also presented that depicts a couple involved in an illicit affair, posed in a hotel room with their faces obscured. The exhibit is accessible only by entry through a curtain, a presentation that evokes the possible anxiety-producing aspects of the voting booth in its allusions to the secrecy and privacy of the decisions one makes in both political and sexual terms, and their very public implications.

Industry of the Ordinary was formed in 2003 by Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson. In addition to their work as artists, Brooks is a curator and both he and Wilson are educators in the Chicago area.

The October First Fridays’ theme is Transformation. Guests may decorate masquerade masks at the Creation Station, check out the iMac G5 Digital Dating Bar, sample products from L’Artesian Parfumer, enjoy music from DJ Popstatic, and sip the Masquerade Martini and the Incognito Cosmo. A performance by the Industry of the Ordinary will accompany the October First Friday event, where the collective will produce and distribute t-shirts with the statement “JUST SAY NO TO THEOCRACY”, a play on the 1980s governmental tagline, “JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS”. The replacement of “drugs” with “theocracy” is intended to comment simultaneously on a current political climate in which “faith-based” initiatives have taken an increasingly central role.

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