Taking it to the Tavern

Red76 is an artist collective who employ a variety of media, including the internet, video, photography, printed matter, and social interaction. In fact, their use of materials is more a matter of calling up the right tools for the right job, but their projects are always infused with a kind of critical repositioning of default installation techniques and didactics. When exhibiting in a museum, they are likely to eschew wall text in favor of a giant arrow directing your attention to what you are really meant to see. In part, this bravery to bend the rules gets to the heart of their work: a persistent effort to create and critique public spaces. While Portland-based artist Sam Gould founded Red76, its membership constantly rotates, and the group privileges its open source ideals over attributed authorship. In this vein, many of their projects take the shape of "how-to" instructions, such as How to... Protest Song Karaoke, in which participants are encouraged to preface public karaoke performances with comments about the supposedly unknown political content of otherwise sappy mainstream pop hits. News Blackout was a successful example of that celebrated artists' trick known as the one-liner. The piece is a video in which someone strategically blacks out newspaper text with a black marker in order to make a statement about what often gets left out of the news. Their latest project The Battery Republic, which begins this weekend, also positions itself as an intervention. The weeklong series takes the form of a mobile tavern, which will occupy a room at the Park Avenue Armory as part of Creative Time's Democracy In America exhibition, as well as various other locations around the city. The collective will use this politicized space as a site for a variety of activities, ranging from conversations with visitors about how politics might effectively enter into everyday life, to a performance by a marching band, which will lead a parade out of the Armory over to Central Park. The series will culminate in a topic-driven dinner party, Revolutionary Table: Welcome to Home, Wa, to be held at Cabinet Magazine's offices in Brooklyn on September 28th. Red76's proposed events next week are living proof of a revolution which permits dancing, as well as eating and drinking. - Marisa Olson

Image: Photo of damaged wall mural at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. The crack was caused by the blast set off by the FALN bomb of 1975. From Red76's Battery Republic site.

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