New Orleanian Dan Tague is an artist and social justice advocate. Using a variety of media, techniques, and wordplay, Tague's work points to inadequacies in government policy toward education, environmental health, and financial reform. He incorporates dollar bills, screen prints, paintings, video, restored furniture, and propaganda poster art to create visual riddles and biting -- yet funny, and sometimes sad -- social commentary.
Installing artwork in a layout reminiscent of a classroom, Tague presents discrete works and editions including posters of U.S. Presidents distilled to facial hair; a Mobil oil sign screen-printed using oil from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill; deconstructed movie posters including the word "American"; and folded dollar bill pieces, some folded 100 times to create statements like "The Kids are Alright" (specially made for his show at Civilian) and "Lest we forget."
Two of the works exhibited are made from school furniture discarded from a destroyed New Orleans public school. Tague discovered the chalkboard and school desk in the street, restored and re-purposed them as art, and is driving them to D.C., where they will be on display for over a month. Drawing a tank in chalk on the board, he sealed the drawing so that it could never be erased. For the school desk, he carved the buzzwords "care forgot" into the desktop and fashioned a shark's head from bubble gum on the underside.
His work employs the tools of activism, with an artist's wit. Propaganda posters and flags are altered with subtle twists on popular, reactionary slogans. For example, a familiar snake flag with the slogan "Don't Tread On Me" is transformed into a skeletal snake with the text "Don't Trespass Against Us." Flipping imagery and transforming rallying cries into religious rhetoric, much of his work comes from his survivalist experience in New Orleans through several disasters. Post-hurricane, his home, like many other Americans', was destroyed; all belongings lost. Since this time, he has witnessed environmental justice and education reform take a back seat to corporate greed, frenzied consumerism, and apathy. His work is a challenge to both lawmakers and voters to do better.
Dan Tague lives and works in New Orleans. This is his first exhibition in D.C. He received an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of New Orleans in 2000. His work has been used in conjunction with The Spirit Initiative, The Clinton Bush Fund for Haiti, Help USA, and Teach for America. Tague is represented by Jonathan Ferrara gallery in New Orleans and will be included in Prospect.2.New Orleans, a new U.S. Biennial for internationally recognized artists curated by Dan Cameron. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art and the Weisman Foundation.
Opening Reception: Friday, June 10, 7-9pm
New Orleans artist Dan Tague makes his Civilian debut with an exhibition of works in a variety of media that point to inadequacies in government policy toward education, environmental health, and financial reform.