June 01, 2016 — Present
WHO IS COTUS?
White House North Lawn
Lanfranco Aceti’s curatorial projects, works of art, videos, performances, and public interventions experiment with notions of space and publicness. The curatorial projects and works of art at times merge, as it happened in Who Is Cotus? and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Cards, combining processes and approaches that hold a mirror to the confusion and madness of contemporary times. This international artist, currently based in Rome, has exhibited and curated at numerous international venues including the Venice Architecture Biennale and documenta14.
The curatorial project Who Is COTUS? plays with authorship in curating while presenting the complexity of historical facts and blending them with the chaos of contemporary realities. Aceti, or a guest curator, takes over the role of COTUS and places an artwork of their choice on the fifth column (or more precisely a plinth) on the North Lawn of the White House. The installations straddle between the possible and impossible and record a curatorial strategy of imagined opportunities. The White House becomes the cultural symbol of a tragic dissonance from the reality of the violence and sheer idiocy of American imperialistic policies both at home and abroad.
Lanfranco Aceti is an artist, curator, and scholar who has done numerous international exhibitions, performances, and public space interventions and actions. He works both as an artist and curator, keeping the two practices separated. Nevertheless there have been two projects in which the artist has mixed the two practices: the first was Hope Coming On, a choral performance with the Boston Children Chorus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston — in which he was invited to curate one of his performances — and the second time with the current particular project in which he decided that he wanted to stretch and blur boundaries between his curatorial practice and artistic practice.
Aceti has always been interested in public space and publicness, institutional power struggles, censorship, and art as a form of expression of deeper social and personal struggles. This project is structured in two parts. The first part is titled Who Is COTUS? and has five theoretical sections: Who Is COTUS?, What Is COTUS?, Where Is COTUS?, When Is COTUS?, Why Is COTUS? The second part, titled The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Cards, is made of 49 postcard like images which depict contemporary artworks on the North Lawn of the White House in Washington DC. The curator mused that since the US is the land of the free, therefore, freed from all constrains, he could place a plinth on the North Lawn of the White House upon which to install 49 artworks.
Inspired by Ernest Miller Hemingway and Herman Melville’s literary works, the project looks at the ideas of struggle as a moment in which to reaffirm personal identities, cultural understandings, and social ethics.
The First Card, The Second Card, The Third Card, The Fourth Card, The Fifth Card, The Sixth Card, The Seventh Card, … The Forty-ninth Card.