Artist Collective Brings “Truth Booth” to Lynden, August 19
Lynden Sculpture Garden a Stop on Nationwide In Search of the Truth Tour
On Friday, August 19, 2016, the Cause Collective brings the Truth Booth to the Lynden Sculpture Garden for one day only. This giant inflatable speech bubble and video recording booth is currently visiting 24 cities across the United States as part of In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth). The public is invited to enter and record two-minute videos completing the statement, “The truth is….” The Truth Booth’s originators aim to capture as many definitions, representations, confessions, and thoughts on “the truth” as possible, and to engage the public in an interactive experience with art, media, and free speech.
The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located 2145 West Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee, WI 53217, and will be open from 10 am to 5 pm on August 19. Admission will be free that day.
The Truth Booth is the brainchild of Ryan Alexiev, Jim Ricks, Will Sylvester, and Hank Willis Thomas. Operating as a team of artists, designers and ethnographers, they work to bring thoughtful, interactive, and engaging projects into local communities here and abroad. With In Search of the Truth, they are particularly interested in transforming public spaces into sites for candor and intimacy. By activating a U.S. tour, The Collective aims to empower hundreds of Americans to speak freely without fear of judgment or persecution. While everyone seeks the truth, two people rarely arrive at the same interpretation, which is why the project’s prompt of “The truth is…” is so powerful and revealing.
The Truth Booth’s visit coincides with Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, a solo presentation of the work of artist Fo Wilson at Lynden. Wilson’s full-scale outdoor structure is both wunderkammer and slave cabin; it imagines what a 19th-century enslaved woman might have collected, catalogued, and stowed in her living quarters. Marginalized voices and contested truth are at the center of Wilson’s Afrofuturist project, in which architecture and objects become important agents for the inclusion of voices in American history that are typically marginalized. Sue Pezanoski Browne, our freshly minted Teacher-in-Residence, and Claudia Orjuela, Lynden’s graduate fellow, will lead informal tours and facilitate discussions and activities that will enable visitors to discover connections between the Truth Booth, Eliza’s cabin, and Wilson’s exhibition in the gallery. Groups who would like to participate in these activities should contact Anna Grosch at 414-446-8481 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynden is collaborating with the Milwaukee Art Museum on this visit. In 2013, the museum hosted Question Bridge: Black Males, an innovative multimedia art project that offered a platform to represent and redefine black male identity in America, while simultaneously deconstructing stereotypes. Organized by artists Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas, in collaboration with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, the five-channel video installation was on view at the museum during the exhibition 30 Americans.
The Cause Collective launched The Truth Booth in 2011 at the Galway Arts Center in Galway, Ireland and over that summer toured the country extensively. The project has since traveled to Afghanistan and Cape Town, South Africa. Within the U.S., “Truth Booth” events have taken place in Charlottesville, VA, Long Island, NY (for the 2012 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University), Washington, D.C., Cleveland, OH, Palo Alto, CA, Menlo Park, CA, Black Rock, NV, Miami Beach, FL (for Art Basel), Chicago, IL, Brooklyn, NY, and Boston, MA. The ideas behind “The Truth Booth” were nascent in a 2006 Cause Collective project, entitled “The Truth is I am You,” in which the artists flew giant inflatable sculptures in the shape of cartoon speech bubbles above the Socrates Sculpture Garden. In 2008, a 300-foot sculpture by the Cause Collective was permanently installed at the University of California, San Francisco. It is comprised of speech bubbles containing a single line of a poem by Hank Willis Thomas and Ryan Alexiev, each of which begins with the phrase “The truth is…” translated into alternating languages spoken by the student body of UCSF.
About The Cause Collective
Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and his MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. His work is featured in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California. He has exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and the High Museum of Art, among others. He is represented by Jack Shainmen Gallery and Goodman Gallery.
Raised in Alaska by Bulgarian immigrants, Ryan Alexiev received a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA from the California College of the Arts, where he currently teaches in the Graduate Design program. He has exhibited at galleries across the country including he the Andy Warhol Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Armory Show in New York, and the Oakland Museum of California. Ryan is also co-founder of the Cause Collective which was commissioned to create The Truth is I Am You for the University of California at San Francisco and the video installation Along the Way for the Oakland International Airport. Along the Way went on to feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Jim Ricks studied at the National University of Ireland, Galway/Burren College of Art and the California College of the Arts. Originally from California, he moved to Ireland in 2005 to become an artist. Ricks was selected for Futures 12 at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2012. In the last two years Ricks has created and toured the popular public work The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen. Alongside solo shows at Pallas Projects, The Black Mariah, and the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. He has curated shows in Dublin, London, Galway and San Francisco.
Will Sylvester received a BA with a concentration on Documentary Film for Social and Cultural Change from the University of Massachusetts in 2011. That same year he went on to edit, build and tour the Question Bridge: Black Males exhibition, including showings at Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontiers and the Shefﬁeld Documentary Film Festival. As a member of the Cause Collective, Will helped to create The Long March, a 27-monitor installation incorporating depictions of movement, migration and marching from different eras in Alabama history. Will has also served as supervising editor for several projects including “Am I Going Too Fast,” “A person is worth more than anything else…” and “We are not yet free….”
About the Lynden Sculpture Garden
The Lynden Sculpture Garden offers a unique experience of art in nature through its collection of more than 50 monumental sculptures sited across 40 acres of park, lake and woodland. The sculpture garden is open to art and nature lovers of all ages Fridays through Wednesdays, 10 am-5 pm (closed Thursdays); in the summer it remains open until 7:30 pm on Wednesdays. Admission to the sculpture garden is $9 for adults and $7 for students and seniors; children under 6 and members are free. Annual memberships are also available.
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Opening night reception: Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 6-8 pm