Modern America

Libby Barbee, Justin Beard, Adán De La Garza, Clay Hawkley, Jennifer Ivanovic, Cindy Sepucha and Mario Zoots

June 29 – July 30, 2017


Curator Jessica Kooiman Parker asked 7 artists to respond to life in Modern America. Artists include Libby Barbee, Justin Beard, Adán De La Garza, Clay Hawkley, Jennifer Ivanovic, Cindy Sepucha and Mario Zoots.

The Firehouse Art Center is pleased to announce Modern America, an unabashed political and social commentary from the hearts and minds of local artists. Our political landscape is volatile and more often than not it is hard for artists to produce political work, for any number of reasons. This exhibition provides a chance for artists to scream at the top of their lungs or to quietly reflect on an issue or issues they feel passionate about.

Kooiman Parker encouraged artists to use their creative practice to process authentic reactions to modern times and to channel that energy into new work. By encouraging work of this subject matter, the artist becomes a sincere reflection of our society and the issues we face. Stemming from frustration and feeling powerless, Kooiman Parker embarked on a mission to give artists an opportunity to create political work. Art that doesn’t hesitate to slap you in the face with tough facts and information. Art that inspires you to literally take to the streets. Ugly art for an ugly world.

Since the beginning of time art has been a reflection of society. The pyramids reflected Egyptian culture just as street art in LA reflected a tenacious subculture. Today, many of us are struggling to comprehend the news we are subjected to. We have become numb to so many things; personal data gathering and surveillance, environmental catastrophes, extreme income gaps, political misuse of power, and the list goes on. Fortunately for us contemporary artists are able to unpack all of this information, filter it through their creative practice and present it to the world as a mirror to the chaos. Ideally, we stop, think and change. It’s an important role for artists to play and it is equally important to offer the opportunity for them to create work in this vein. Artist are essentially a way to ‘check’ audiences and document our society.

Artists were asked the following questions: Do you believe in something enough that you are willing to fight for it? What do you stand for? What are you embarrassed of? Their responses are as varied as our society at large; from fossil fuels and feminism to housing issues and TSA pat-downs.

Curator: Jessica Kooiman Parker,, 605.939.1008