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SUNDAY, MAR 05 2017 - SUNDAY, APR 23 2017

Gallery Kai Matsumiya presents a range of work by Rainer Ganahl exploring the linguistic and visual terms associated with each administration for his show “Legacy: Bush, Obama, Trump”. Such terms, the artist contends, become symptomatic of each presidency.

In his “War on Terror” series, the artist rendered such expressions with a ballpoint pen in the style of Alighiero e Boetti’s airplane drawings: “Axis of Evil”; “9/11”; “Freedom fries”; “Homeland Security”; and other terms that refer to various terror attacks, wars, lies, political theater, and name calling.

Ganahl’s “News Paintings,” first shown at MUMOK-Vienna in 2003, draw imagery from news websites in over-sized fashion, as response from the spectacular reports and images of suicide attacks and warfare from the time. In nearly all cases, the artworks in “Legacy: Bush, Obama, Trump” had been executed shortly after events which informed them. 

Just entering office, President Trump has brought forth a sea of terms that speak for themselves: “Fake News,” “Alternative Facts,” “Extreme Vetting,” “Sad!”, “Bad Hombres”—and his main slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Ganahl rendered these slogans with a script invented in 1930 by Rudolph Koch who adhered to Nazi ideology. For this series Ganahl added his own term, “TRUMPUTIN,” reminiscent not only of the charlatan advisor Rasputin who contributed to the fall of Czarist Russia through salaciousness and mysticism, but also of the 1970s-disco song “Rasputin” (“lover of the Russian queen”) by Boney M. Befitting of the chauvinist, sexist realities of the new president. The song will play in the gallery. The exhibition, “Legacy: Obama, Bush, Trump”, opens March 5 and remains on view through April 23.

Rainer Ganahl will host reading seminars at the gallery during his exhibition with a primary focus on Hannah Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism”.


Rainer Ganahl is an Austrian-American artist whose work consists of photographs, videos as well as performances. He studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He was a member of the 1990/91 Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York City and is currently a professor of visual arts at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

Exhibition opening hours:
March 5 - April 23
WED - SUN 12PM - 6PM & by appointment

More information on the Gallery and the artist.

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Kai Matsumiya Fine Arts Gallery
153 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002