October 23 – November 22, 2008

Opening Reception: October 23, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

ClampArt is pleased to announce “Gracious Dictator: The Seduction of Power,” an installation by artist Mark Beard.

In honor of the November Presidential election, Mark Beard has transformed ClampArt’s gallery space into an elegant showroom of high-end home furnishings for the world’s most discerning dictators.

Such items for sale include the “Ideology Bookcase.” This handsome piece of fine furniture is ideal for the storage, protection, and display of every dictator’s favorite titles, such as Benito Mussolini’s autobiography; On Guerilla Warfare by Mao Tse-tung; or “The New York Times” bestseller, Get Anyone To Do Anything by David J. Lieberman (all of which will be available for browsing during the exhibition). The bookcase includes hidden storage for cash and tools of torture, in addition to a detachable casket for use in times of need.

Merchandise such as flags and an intricately woven rug all bear a special insignia designed by Beard which is an amalgam of the US dollar sign, a swastika, and the hammer and sickle. However, customers are welcome to replace this with their own symbol of power. Orders then will be placed with our factory, and items will be available in just six to eight weeks’ time.

A series of paintings, throw pillows, and tote bags decorated with portraits of history’s most memorable dictators are also part of the installation. Franco, Mao, Stalin, or Hussein—all are available for sale. In addition, these items can be acquired with portraits of these famous dictators’ wives or mistresses, including Imelda Marcos, Eva Braun, and of course, the elegant Eva Perón.

Acknowledging the parallels of the seduction of advertising and lifestyle to that of power and terror, Beard has constructed a cynical yet relevant environment critical of our own aspirations and values.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1956, Mark Beard is a well established artist living in New York City with artworks in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many, many others.

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