Deb Sokolow: Notes On Denver International Airport And The New World Order

Deb Sokolow‘s practice addresses the historical, psychological, and mythological dimension of conspiracism, the fundamental cultural phenomenon of the political in the age of corporate capitalism. Inspired by subgenres of sci-fi literature, police TV series, and cult Hollywood films in which paranoia plays a central role, Sokolow scripts intricate, non-linear narratives based on mystifying, enigmatic pieces of information. These puzzling stories feature mysterious characters who uncover sinister plots, from the Illinois State University Watterson Towers suicide rumor to McDonald’s chicken nuggets being D.C.-area spies’ favorite food. The accounts unfold in the form of charts comprising drawings and other pictorial components made with materials such as pen and pencil, correction fluid, and highlighter, typical of office supply cabinets, as well as caption-like written elements. Sokolow’s approach to deception, secrecy, and suspicion constitutes an examination of the relationship between the ideological state apparatus, mass media, and the public mind.

Notes on Denver International Airport and the New World Order is Sokolow’s New York debut. The exhibition consists of a series of works on paper informed by a fictionalized investigation into whether or not the New World Order headquarters bunker exists underneath the Denver International Airport. Sokolow’s signature-style aesthetics is now at service of an analysis of the quintessential conspiracy theory, that of the New World Order, a system of belief that refers to the hypothetical emergence of a totalitarian one-world government. The display comprises overlapping, multi-layered, pinned-up drawings, blown up photocopies, collaged floor plans, and other data collected by “You,” a nameless, unreliable armchair detective. An example of these materials are the references to files of internal memos and emails relating to the construction of the Denver International Airport which highlight inconsistencies with the construction of the building, missing funds, and discontented employees, among other topics. The nature of this research is tangential, subjective and at times completely illogical, but explores a few odd facts that might hint at some level of truth with regard the powers that be.

Deb Sokolow (b. 1974) lives and works in Chicago. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has had solo shows at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Polvo, 40000, Spertus Museum and Western Exhibitions, all in Chicago; Inova, Milwaukee, WI; and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO. She is represented by Western Exhibitions.

The realization of Notes on Denver International Airport and the New World Order is supported by Western Exhibitions, Chicago.

This exhibition is curated by Miguel Amado, 2010-11 AIRspace curator-in-residence at the Abrons Arts Center.

Image: Deb Sokolow
Possible Meeting Room Set-up for New World Order, 2011
Graphite and acrylic on paper
11 x 8 1/2 inches