Timed to coincide with the 2012 presidential election season is the Aldrich Museum’s group exhibition “united states” (lowercase intentional) which opens this week. Twelve artists address the myriad political and social divisions across the blue and red states and notions of what it means to be American. Artist Alison Crocetta’s filmed translation of the Bill of Rights into American Sign Language is a stunning recreation of this vital document that exposes its beautiful and tragic subjectivity. And Celeste Fichter’s video of children who have tried unsuccessfully, yet endearingly, to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance but who ultimately mangle it walks (talks!) an ambiguous, disturbing line between easy laughs and humor noir.
A good question for the next political town meeting (besides how much will be spent on education): What does the Pledge mean to you? Or better, what does it mean at all?