The Truth Remains that No One Wants to Know
Scieszka is not one to shy away from dark and difficult ideas in order to pry out the truths of history. Scieszka arrived at her latest body of work after reading Edward Dolnick’s, The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Ruminating on who, and what, made up the ‘great’ in the sentiment of America, Scieszka plunged into the topic of stolen and lost art and went on to read titles about looted and lost art during WWII including, The Monuments Men, The Rape of Europa, and A Tragic Fate: Law and Ethics in the Battle Over Nazi-Looted Art. The truths within these accounts, characterized by greed, hate, and violence gave Scieszka a new perspective on the familiar themes running through the cannon of her paintings and performance persona, Old Put the Clown.
In her new paintings, video and sculptural works Scieszka references history in a mélange of symbolic nods to American GI heroism, occultism, extraterrestrial appearances and patriotic appropriations of glorified, coveted, and destroyed works by Matisse, Gustav Klimt and Lucas Cranach the Elder. Scieszka’s paintings are both a meditation on a time in history when art’s value in culture was worth its weight in gold and blood, and the complicated past and present role of the United States government as restorers of freedom.
At the heart of this narrative, and Scieszka’s cannon at large, is Old Put the Clown, Scieszka’s performance persona.
Here, he wears a cowboy/clown/WWII GI costume in the video Psycho Soul Dolphin Pound Down, and sings, The Only Hell My Momma Ever Raised, a country ballad and the exhibition’s namesake, The Truth Remains That No One Wants to Know.’In this exhibition Scieszka’s work further reminds us that our current reality can only be understood by the stories and objects left to history and, more often than not, by the narratives and webs of truth that remain, but about which no one wants to know.
Courtesy of Larrie, NYC
Photos by Dan Bradica