Round Up

Kurt Mueller and Jamie Wentz bring out the cowboy in you

Round Up brings out the cowboy in the unlikeliest of candidates. An installation by artists Kurt Mueller and Jamie Wentz, the piece explores “the force of the cowboy identity” and how it is usually too easily assumed. At an artists’ retreat outside of Austin, the pair videotaped volunteers dressed in chaps and pearl-button shirts, carrying guns, standing in front of a green tent. Mueller plays a sheriff gathering a posse and gives a speech about why they must fight evildoers — the lines are actually quotes about the war in Iraq stolen from George W. At the end, he asks the potential posse, “Are you with me?”

“It’s interesting because we did this…with a group of pretty pacifist artists, I would say, but as soon as they put on this clothing a lot of them went crazy,” says Wentz. The video from the retreat includes surprising responses from the “pacifist artists” such as “Kill those bastards,” “Let’s get those mother fuckers,” and a short diatribe by one man who calmly waxes analytical about why it’s okay to solve violence with violence: “to provide more of an excuse for violence, which I’m into.” “That was kind of an interesting social experiment, to see the change in attitude and the change of ideology just because of these articles of clothing,” Wentz says. You’ll be able to see how strapping on some chaps affects you today when Wentz and Mueller video volunteers for future exhibits. Prepare to saddle up from noon to 5 p.m.
Mondays-Saturdays. Starts: Aug. 30. Continues through Oct. 6, 2007

 
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