The Art of Democracy Is a National Coalition of Art Exhibitions
on the Dire State of American Politics Scheduled for the Fall of 2008.

Monterey, California Exhibition

Anton Gallery
701 Hawthorne St.
Monterey, CA

curated by Patrick Frank
Eight artists: Jesus Aguilar, Anthony Discenza, Clinton Fein, Richard James, Patrick Jennings, Tony Sheeder, Lisa Solomon, and Heather Wilcoxon

October 15 - November 4, 2008
Opening: Thursday, October 15, 6 - 9:30 pm


Contact: Gail Enns, Maureen Davidson

Noise Poster, Tony Sheeder
Press Release (pdf download)
Our culture is full of noise: cultural, political, personal, environmental. Not just a bothersome, low hum like the sound of your computer, but something actively harmful; noise that must be dealt with, not just ignored or tolerated. Noise comes from many sources: the media, our politicians, corporate and governmental bureaucracies, our inner selves.
One natural response to this noise might be to seek an escape from it. A lot of art that is beautiful, or nature-based, or contemplative in tone, attempts such an escape. But escapism will not solve any problem. Another possible response is to try to accept or see beauty in it. But how do you find the beauty in the riders on a health insurance policy? How do you cultivate affection for political attack ads?
The present time calls for other solutions, and the artists in "Noise" all have something to offer. Some call attention to noise by intensifying it. Other artists register the effects of noise on themselves, hoping that we too will register it. Others attempt to bring some kind of poetic impulse to bear; they transform noise in ways that reveal its operation, but also ridicule it somehow.
The function of art today is not to change the world, because it can't. Nor is it to explore the media of art; with Modernism, we have already been there and done that. Nor is it to pacify, please, relax, delight, or entertain us. We have many colorful television programs and chemical aids which meet those goals admirably. No, today's best art helps us find a way to deal with the world we have created. The art in "Noise" shows the way, not to revolution but to clear-eyed seeing. In this exhibition, we see the noise more clearly for what it is, and we also see a diverse group of creators who have devoted their best thought to the problem. Their works are challenging, funny, raw, ironic, confrontational, surprising, and because of all that, inspiring.
Patrick Frank, Curator
Artists Confront Social Issues: Join with the National Art of Democracy Movement
For Immediate Release Contact: Gail Enns 202.253.4507
Maureen Davidson 831.469.3191
Exhibition Dates: October 15 - November 4, 2008
Opening Reception:: Thursday. October 15, 6 - 9:30 PM

A culture full of noise...political, environmental, social, the topic of an exhibition curated by Patrick Frank and presented by the Anton Gallery in Monterey, opening October 16 as part of the national Art of Democracy movement ( Eight artists: Jesus Aguilar, Anthony Discenza, Clinton Fein, Richard James, Patrick Jennings, Tony Sheeder, Lisa Solomon, and Heather Wilcoxon work with issues as diverse as the use of torture at Abu Ghraib (Fein), horror of firearms (Solomon), environmental destruction (Wilcoxon), abuses of the internet (Aguilar) and moribund urban design (Jennings). Coming from Sacramento, Sausalito, San Jose. San Franciso and Oakland, the NOISE artists share only a willingness to confront the issues that most concern them. Anton Gallery, still in the process of renovation, mounts this exhibition during the election season in concert with Art of Democracy, a national movement of artists and galleries moved by the urgency of national affairs. The exhibition opens with a reception on Thursday, October 16 from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm and continues through election day, November 4, 2008. The gallery hours are Wed. through Sunday 11:00 am through 5:00 pm or by appointment.

According to the curator, nationally respected art writer and educator, Patrick Frank, “our culture is full of noise: noise that is actively harmful; noise that must be dealt with rather than ignored or tolerated.” The NOISE show is concerned with the noises that come from the media, politicians, corporate and governmental bureaucracies, advertising and the resulting increase in our personal cultural and moral conflicts In concert with Art of Democracy, Anton Gallery has produced a poster by Tony Sheeder which will be distributed at the gallery. A website, will accompany the exhibition.

For further information call 831.655.1490.
Anton Gallery 701 Hawthorne St. Monterey, CA

* An expanded version of NOISE will be presented at the National Steinbeck Center
opening April 2009. This exhibition of NOISE is partially funded by Celadon, Inc.,

Artist quotes:

The digital domain has changed the way we relate to each other, to the world, and to information at large. Information and knowledge are simultaneously omnipresent and continuously fleeting….The Internet is archiving, changing and decontextualizing information and identity. We are bombarded with a mass of information in order to get to something that’s important. In my work I just try to simplify it.

There’s something a little nightmarish in all my work, like a bad dream from watching television, through which we’re exposed to thousands, maybe millions of images, some involuntarily: images designed NOT to be scrutinized, NOT to be decoded. Whether it’s news or advertising, the content is always advertising: What TV produces is our attention, then sells it to advertisers…As a result, the sense of objective truth recedes …I try to amplify the experiential space produced by watching mainstream media: anesthetizing and narcotizing, and at the same time anxiety-producing and assaulting.

CLINTON FEIN (San Francisco)
I come from South Africa. I was aware from the time I came into adulthood of apartheid and its implications...When I left the country, you could be arrested for quoting Nelson Mandela. So the First Amendment is very important to me, that it be real. You have to work to make sure free speech is protected, and the people’s right to know…And that led to the lawsuit, Apollo Media vs Reno…I don’t think that artists have to do work that deals with issues. I do think that artists can bring issues to the table in a unique and powerful way.

RICHARD JAMES (Sacramento)
I paint quickly, but a lot of thought goes into each piece, each letter. There’s the quality of poetry about the text. “Never bet the devil your head”…is an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe. “I paint 10 years for nothing” came out of Van Gogh’s letters…It’s the WabiSabi concept: Anybody can do it. But nobody will. It’s plain, like a sign a Japanese farmer would put out on the road, “Fresh eggs for sale.” In the continuum of formal art styles, I see it as expressionist: “Now what?” Somebody buys one, I’ll make another.

I am fascinated by that which repulses me, massive corporations using power unjustly, politicians misusing public trust. I figure out how to subvert them, mock them, try to expose them. My approach is to use humor, hopefully not in too didactic a way…I think we have a responsibility to do what we can, advocate for what we believe, present practical solutions…For the Market Street project I gave San Francisco architects, planners, transportation people, engineers—who went into their fields as idealists and then got crushed by reality—a chance to dream: It was like unplugging a dam.

How did we find ourselves in this situation where a cabal of country club potentates can do what all of our cold war foes were incapable of doing: reduce us to embracing our basest nature, deciding that expediency is the only thing that matters…Recently my work has become more complex, less abstract, more personal…To me it feels more dire than it has ever been before: We’re on the brink of something really huge…we’ve reached a place that I think is terrifying…that’s not a glib use of words—It’s terrifying to think my children are growing up in this world.

Thread can mend, bind, put things together…a friend sent me used targets from a shooting range, they really scared me. Here, where it was penetrated by a bullet, see the bullet marks, the gunpowder. I thought I should mend it: It won’t be so scary any more. When Bush won the last election and the United States seemed to be marching infinitely off to war, I tried to make it cheerful, with pretty felt tanks in bright colors.

I live on a houseboat on a tiny marsh I’m trying to restore. People weren’t paying attention, walking on the shore instead of the paved path, owners clear-cutting, boys skateboarding. I thought OK, OK, OK, this little marsh needs help. I made signs with pictures of birds, grasses and “Help with restoration: Please walk on the upper path.” … the marsh bitch. That’s what this painting is about…it boils up in me, usually about the environment and the war…Some people feel uncomfortable. I don’t care. I didn’t make it for you. I made it for me. I wouldn’t know how to make something for somebody else.
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