Nick van Woert, Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Was In

Courtesy, the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

Los AngelesArt & Culture

War and Peace

Nick van Woert's bloody history lesson covers modern tragedy and historical shame

What’s in that pipe that Nick van Woert‘s sculptures have been smoking? The Brooklyn artist’s collection of Native American cigar shop figures have undergone a hallucinatory transformation as he considers the devastating effects of the European’s arrival on North America’s indigenous peoples.

Oh My God - They Shot a Cop

Nick van Woert
Oh My God – They Shot a Cop, 1978, 2015
Silkscreen and photo emulsion on aluminum
36 x 25 x 1.5 inches (91.4 x 63.5 x 3.8 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

The craggy, caricatured visages the statues once sported have been replaced with the ghostly faces of famous and influential men from the early years of America’s resettlement — including Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Buffalo Bill — in a commentary on the assimilation and destruction of cultures by an invading force.

Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Was In borrows its title from Kenny Rogers’ musical tale of drug experimentation and altered reality, and van Woert’s show tackles further barely believable incidents from America’s more recent history. The Nevada native’s detailed architectural sculpture recalls a 1985 incident in Philadelphia, in which the police bombed (yes, bombed) a house that had been taken over by the black militant group MOVE. Eleven people were killed in the explosion after the group resisted earlier attempts at forced evacuation.

A vinyl record made by van Woert provides a soundtrack to the exhibition, but years earlier in 1993 it was the soundtrack to the deadly Waco seige; one of the FBI’s psychological strategies against the cult was to bombard the Texas house with music and noise, which van Woert has recreated. The Moran Bondaroff gallery (formerly OHWOW) in Los Angeles is the scene of the crimes until 10 October.

@moranbondaroff

Robert E. Lee

Nick van Woert
Robert E. Lee, 2015
Carved polychrome wooden statue
36 x 10 x 10 inches (91.4 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

George Washington

Nick van Woert
George Washington, 2015
Carved polychrome wooden statue
26 x 10 x 10 inches (66 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

6221 Osage Ave

Nick van Woert
6221 Osage Ave. (Executioner’s Gaze), 2015
Birch plywood, bass wood, and pigmented wood filler
40 x 64 x 18 inches (101.6 x 162.6 x 45.7 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Nick van Woert
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 2015
Carved polychrome wooden statue
18 x 6 x 6 inches (45.7 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

Abraham Lincoln

Nick van Woert
Abraham Lincoln, 2015
Carved polychrome wooden statue
38.75 x 10 x 6 inches (98.4 x 25.4 x 15.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

Tank 5

Nick van Woert
Tank 5, 2015
Aluminum
16.25 x 14.25 x 20.25 inches (41.3 x 36.2 x 51.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

Tank 6

Tank 6, 2015
Aluminum
16.25 x 14.25 x 20.25 inches (41.3 x 36.2 x 51.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

The Aftermath - MOVE 1985

Nick van Woert
The Aftermath – MOVE 1985 3, 2015
Silkscreen and photo emulsion on aluminum
36 x 25 x 1.5 inches (91.4 x 63.5 x 3.8 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

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