the Conscience of a Nation @ GMU 10.28.08

Catch my McCain portrait in this upcoming show…

 conscience of a nation

George Mason University Fine Arts Gallery
October 27-November 7, 2008

Reception Tuesday, October 28 from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., October 2, 2008 – While Americans and the rest of the global community are intensely focused on the outcome of the 2008 presidential election, artists are also struggling with the point and counterpoint of the political compass in our nation’s capital. As a way of delivering personal responses and insights about our sense of conscience, including cultural identity and political decision-making, George Mason University’s Art and Visual Technology (AVT) department is presenting an exhibition titled The Conscience of A Nation: Sid Chafetz Leads The Way, curated by Helen Frederick, AVT professor and coordinator of printmaking. The show will be held at Gallery 123 on the Fairfax Campus from October 27 through November 7, 2008. The opening reception will be held on October 28 from 4:30-6 p.m.

The Conscience of A Nation features the work of a group of regional and invited artists from states such as Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin, who have been asked to exhibit their visual commentaries about our community, particularly to investigate the psyche of survival instincts and emergency situations that grow from the consequences of the political actions of our leaders. In order to make the exhibition dynamic and collaborative, George Mason University faculty and students are invited to add their own work to the exhibition throughout the week before and after the election.

“I conceived the exhibition as a way of sharing discourse and collaborating with other artists, including younger artists, at a time when transformation is critically needed in the world,” Frederick said. “The nation’s capital is a Petri dish for shared boundaries of cultural and political awareness. Mason seemed a very suitable place to make visible the psychic conditions growing from our deep personal and universal concerns that have erupted around the time of the election.”

The show is anchored around artist and printmaker Sid Chafetz’s provocative digital print “Walter Reed Hospital”. This 48 x 96” work was inspired by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal, and juxtaposes images of amputees and replacement limbs with the heads of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice positioned on athletic bodies in motion.

“I’ve been very critical of this administration and its behavior and I thought an absurd image might express my feelings better than a factual image based on reality,” Chafetz said.

For more than 60 years, Chafetz has created art shaped by the political events that define our culture and determine our survival. His work is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Dahlem Museum in Berlin, among others.

Chafetz said that his work is inspired by Rembrandt “for his deep sympathy of human beings” and Francisco Goya, whose work “was consistently critical of war and its consequences.”

George Mason University students and faculty who wish to participate in “The Conscience of A Nation” must contact Helen Frederick, AVT associate professor and curator, at (703) 993-1013 or, or Solomon Wondimu, exhibitions assistant, at

The following artists will have work on display in “The Conscience of A Nation ”:

Ken Ashton
Graham Boyle
Meaghan Bush
Sid Chafetz
Billy Colbert
Fred Folsom
Peggy Feerick
Helen Frederick
Chawky Frenn
Steve Frost
John Hitchcock
Bridget Lambert
Manuel Navarette
Margaret A. Parker
Jefferson Pinder
Mark Planisek
Michael Platt

Steve Prince
Renee Sandell
Tate Shaw
Erwin Thamm
Yee-Haw Industries
Sean Watkins
Genna Watson
Rex Weil
Sue Wrbican

Additional George Mason Faculty and Students

This event is FREE and open to the public. The gallery is open to the public on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends by appointment. The Fine Arts Gallery is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall.  Visit