Reverse Desertification

CCS Bard Galleries, April 29 – May 27, 2012

Artists: Joachim Koester and Janice Kerbel

The often undervalued Western genre, particularly its tropes of dreaming and the frontier, offers telling insight into the American psyche. While fluctuating in popularity, the genre has consistently parodied the cultural attitudes, historical circumstances and current events of its time. In the 1960s, ongoing wars, American imperialism, the space race, and the rise of a counterculture interested in exploring the periphery and psychedelic drugs, heralded a renewed interest in the Western. Its ideas for expansion into purportedly new spaces and experiences and themes of birth and renewal, became relevant for those seeking altered consciousness and alternative community building.

The works presented in this exhibition touch upon this mythology of the West as a space of madness or altered consciousness. By drawing on works that look at the impact of the counterculture on the space of the west and the notion of the frontier, the exhibition considers the function of psychedelia within modern western narratives.

 Curated by Robin Selk


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