Sean Slattery: The First 100 Days
February 28, 2018 - March 30, 2018
Winchester Cultural Center Gallery
3130 McLeod Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89121
(Facility hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
Artist Reception and Talk: Thursday, March 1, 2018
For more information, call Clark County Public Art, (702) 455-8685
The First 100 Days uses the language of Scott Adams' comic-strip Dilbert to examine the role of fact, opinion, and art in contemporary culture. It is a critique of the comic and the author's political views that seep into it. It is also a critique of the current state of art practice. The visual art world is receding from the popular culture. Is there room for it? How does art that is intended to speak truth to power function when the system that supports it is primarily composed of opposite values?
The role of facts and truth are entering what feels like a new era. If there is a comic strip that could represent this period, it might well be Dilbert. It purports to lampoon office culture but instead is a cynical representation of capitalism, offering no alternative to it, and profiting from it through merchandise and spin-off material. This cultural and political nihilism seems to precede, and now celebrate, the rise of Trump and the degradation of discourse. Trust is eroding. While we demanded the downfall of institutions, we never prepared for what would fill the gaps. In TFHD trust and fact are no longer relevant, critique is slippery, and the main narrator, a character named Sean Slattery who appears in 100 videos, mentally regresses under the weight of the positive and negative changes society is undergoing.
The exhibition has three areas of focus. First are the 100 videos in which the Sean Slattery character reads the Dilbert comic that corresponds to each of the first 100 days of Trump's presidency. As the weeks progress, the videos become less a straightforward reading of the strip and more an outlet for the character's growing anger. Tiny clues alert the audience that all is not as it seems. The true Dilbert fan will immediately recognize challenges when they realize the punchlines are false. Second is 86 drawings that resemble working sketches that look like possible plans for the Monday through Saturday comics. Like the videos, these are not factual, and many clues point to their imposter status. The punchlines here differ from those in the videos, an alert to the interested viewer. Last are digital works and paintings that shift the critique away from Dilbert and towards the current and recent art discourses. We are trading the loss of entertainment value in exchange for dusty and obtuse readings, the requirement that we filter visual art into written theses.
About Artist Sean Slattery
Las Vegas-based artist Sean Slattery makes work in digital and analog media. His work was most recently exhibited in Plural, Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, UNLV; A Matter of Personality, Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, UNLV; and Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, and Art Museum at Symphony Park, Las Vegas. He received his B.F.A. from University of North Texas and his M.F.A. from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.