Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 2020
In the exceptional Nation State of One,
the novel plague,
first declared nonexistent,
then decried as sophic,
was ultimately decreed ‘Democratic’.
Though itself invisible to the naked eye,
the virus, though little,
spread by aspirational spittle,
magnified divisions and bonds.
the unaffordable could be bought again.
Sacrificial heroes, ill-suited, staved,
for another quarter,
the essential economy.
Routines were screened.
Meetings multiplied and merged.
Unemployment ranks swelled.
Curves flattened; feeds fed.
Tweet-enlisted fascists drilled.
Indisposed Justice meted
black breath no repose.
The State of Stasis
is fought within, and without.
The ghost of patriarchy is going away, reclining and ensconced in high culture – as is his want.
He absently gestures to no one in particular.
The sovereign sway of cherubs and camels give way to another sanitized history: our own.
First responders in bleached personal protective equipment take their haul to the burial trench.
More about this artwork can be found here.
Andrew Ellis Johnson’s work has appeared in galleries, festivals, public collaborations, conferences and publications in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has performed as co-founder of the collective PED in Buffalo, Belfast, Chongqing, Rio de Janeiro, St. John’s and Toronto. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA) and Carnegie Mellon University (MFA) in Pittsburgh, where he is Associate Professor of Art. Residencies and exchanges over the last decade include those at: Korean National University of the Arts, Seoul; Blue Mountain Center, New York; University of the Arts London, Camberwell; Fayoum International Art Center, Egypt; Sites of Passage in Jerusalem/Ramallah/ Pittsburgh; and Tsinghua University’s Academy of Arts & Design in Beijing. Recent two-person exhibits in the USA include GETTING THERE at Gettysburg College and RESORT at Kendall College of Art & Design and McDonough Museum of Art. His last solo show was Somewhere Over the Border at the Allcott Gallery at UNC Chapel Hill. More here.