Elizabeth Dee Gallery presents Howard Halle: Return To Graceland, Works from the ’80s and ’90s, the artist’s first solo exhibit in NYC since 1991. The show presents a selection of paintings, photo-objects and assemblages created and conceived between mid-1980s and the early 1990s.
Halle’s work from the period explored two dovetailing issues: The idea of memory as a space colonized by artifacts from popular culture and current events (in Halle’s case, from the Cold War/Vietnam Era), and the question of agency: Who has it, who doesn’t, and how is agency abetted/constrained by larger social forces? The best example of their overlap is America itself, where discarding the past is the prerequisite for fulfilling the promise of liberty.
The work draws on a wide range of source material that, like memory itself, can seem random and inchoate: 1950s political and men’s magazine cartoons, Americana, self-help books and documents from the Symbionese Liberation Army. The pieces also evoke such figures as President Eisenhower, Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope and Elvis. Denuded of their original meaning, these references are given a new context through an interaction of images, texts, objects and art-historical quotations.
Howard Halle (American b. 1952) has a long standing practice and has exhibited in museums internationally. During the 1980s he was included in the most culturally influential venues of the time: Hallwalls, The Kitchen, Artists Space, and Art in General. Halle’s work is included in the Menil Collection, Houston, and has been featured in a number of their exhibitions curated by founding director, Walter Hopps.