What does it mean to confuse a situation through “alternative facts”? What does it mean that within a group of white nationalists there are some “very fine people”?
It means that the people in the highest levels of our current government lie and distort the truth to achieve their desired goals. It means that things are not always as they seem.
The anchor work in Muddy the Waters, Judi Bari Car Bombed by Rigo 23, speaks to such institutional misdirection. In 1990, Judy Bari and Darryl Cherney were injured when a bomb exploded in the car Bari was driving. Bari was a known activist and environmentalist. The FBI and Oakland Police falsely concluded that the victims had been carrying the bomb themselves, and reported this accusation to the local press. In reality, Bari and Cherney were the victims of an assassination attempt.
Judi Bari Car Bombed was first shown in The Luggage Store’s 2007 exhibition Backtracking 199485.
The phrase “muddy the waters” first appeared in the nineteenth century, referring to the distortion or obfuscation of truth. Works in the exhibition are often muddied in their meanings and themes. A Canan Tolon oxidized work references nature and the interaction of water and iron, Pamela Wilson-Ryckman’s paintings hide their origins and yet we feel the decay, and Keith Hale’s The American Falls turns an American tourist destination—Niagara Falls—into a tour-de-force criticism of capitalism.