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Curated by Lawrence Gipe and Antoine Girard

Ken Gonzales-Day, 2014, Unidentified protester facing police line, Los Angeles, photograph

Curated by Lawrence Gipe and Antoine Girard

“The Democracy Project: 2020” manifests the great, besieged “project of Democracy” as an online exhibition for Artillery’s September/October issue, featuring recent work by a diverse selection of the West Coast’s most compelling artists. Whether approaching the theme ironically, or with reverence (or a bit of both), the artists below are chosen for their political engagement, provocative content, and significant contributions to the diversity of the art world.

ARTISTS: Kim Abeles, Sama Alshaibi, Aaron Coleman, Eileen Cowin, Asad Faulwell, Corey Grayhorse, Mark Steven Greenfield, Salim Green, Ken Gonzales-Day, Alexander Kritselis, Ann Le, Alejandro Macias, Renée Petropoulos, Mike Reesé, Miles Regis, Julio M. Romero, Stephanie Syjuco, Meital Yaniv.   —Lawrence Gipe

FORWARD by Antoine Girard

Though the word democracy in this moment connotes for many a political party or side, the term also reflects a process. Democracy is a practice, a set of decisions that vacillates permanently between our light and darkness.

The state of the pandemic left me and many artists included in “Democracy 2020” at a new point of reflection. Months of time reluctantly passing in our homes, we were left living together separately to ask new questions. What side of history are we really on? What happens when protest becomes the only space to commune? 

The artists convened here all illuminate the human connections at the heart of democracy even as they remind us of the power of place. Over the past months, Angelenos have seen the ideas we’ve lived our lives by at once in flames and on the cusp of rebuilding. “The Democracy Project 2020” expresses where we have been and the creative impulses we have held on to. This exhibit expresses where we have been and the creative impulses we have held to. I invite you to especially reflect on the location of the artist as you consider voices from Southern California (and beyond) responding to a world made—and remade—through collective process.

"The photograph was taken in Los Angeles during the protests and marches that took place in the days following the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen that became a focal point for many in the Black Lives Matter movement which has since grown to become a truly global movement."

-Ken Gonzales Day

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