Just as the political strength of an idea can be derived from its identification as ‘apolitical,’ the driving force of this exhibition was born out of the decision not to overlay a theme but to respond to interpretive mechanisms at work within the experience of certain objects. Based on a term coined by Harvard academic Joseph Nye, “soft power” refers to a diplomatic strategy in which the confidence of an audience is gained through attraction rather than force, a notion borrowed by Friedman and Hirsch to examine aesthetic temperament and its appeal.
The works in Soft Power emphasize a measure of formal familiarity. From Tenser’s subtle sculptural reference to Tatlin’s monument, to Malashock’s videogame narrative, and Birch’s newsprint tract, these works utilize cultural history and ubiquitous visual references as an entry point through which to consider the convergence of social and personal concerns. Curated by: Amanda B. Friedman and Elizabeth Hirsch, April 8 – May 21, 2011, Opening Reception: Friday, April 8, 7-9 PM, Press Preview: 6 PM