6 April 2008 4:21 PM
Presidential privilege has, over the past eight years, which is to say the duration of the Bush Administration, meant an increasing infringement on the rights of free speech. This has been particularly devastating in terms of the virulent wars pursued by the G.O.P. and the kind of protest they should incite. This situation lies at the heart of Eurichea Showalter and Seva’s collaborative installation, "Claiming Executive Privilege with Tipping Point Advantage Given By Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," which consists of a plastic barricade, the muffled sounds of an anti-war demonstration, a copy of the “Presidential Advance Manual” detailing White House rules for dealing with protestors, and a painting that uses a folksy, hippie aesthetic to illustrate this pathetic state of affairs. The viewer, like the picketer, finds herself corralled in a pen, able only to look out on where the action (the art) is. While the horrors of the Bush administration will not be news to anyone with a truly democratic bone in their body, and an installation such as this will likely not convince anyone else of said evils, nevertheless the act of being stuck in the artists’ pen forces one to confront a situation too easily forgotten on a day-to-day basis.