Overlord (American Dream), 2007
Black monochrome, black plastic garbage bag
36 x 33 inches
Edition of 20

My Eyes Keep Me in Trouble
Nieuwe Vide, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 2007

My Eyes Keep Me in Trouble
Sydney College of the Arts Gallery, Sydney, Australia, 2008

My Eyes Keep Me in Trouble
The Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2008

Techno Park Studios, Melbourne, Australia, 2010

I was invited by artist/curator Tilman to participate in a group show he was curating called My Eyes Keep Me Trouble. The title came from a raunchy blues standard by legend R. L. Burnside and Tilman asked each artist in the show to contribute a work that addressed the title’s implications. My contribution was Overlord (American Dream). It was a large black monochrome, a plastic garbage bag readymade, unfolded, turned upside down, and simply pinned to the wall. I was attracted to the bag for a variety of reasons. In addition to being utterly valueless, I liked its formal qualities. I primarily paint in acrylic, which is essentially the same material as the bag, pigmented plastic. I also liked the regular grid pattern the bag retained when unfolded.

Overlord (American Dream) is about the war in Iraq. It is about American greed and warmongering for resources. It is about insatiable consumption and disposible everything. My eyes keep in trouble because that want endlessly. I deliberately decided to make Overlord (American Dream) as a mulitple — more stuff, less value, and more consumption.

The exhibition was also accompanied by a catalog that acted as an extension of the exhibition. Rather than publishing images of works included the show and statements by participating artists, Tilman asked each artist to contribute an image and text that again addressed the title of the exhibition. I contributed a downloaded photo of the US Pacific Fleet during a training exercise, taken from the perspective of the vanquished. My text (below) was essentially a litany of complaints:

What I Want
by Matthew Deleget

I want luxury and riches
I want the earth’s resources
I want haves and have nots
I want the axis of evil
I want the Patriot Act
I want weapons of mass destruction
I want the war on terror
I want the war machine
I want profiteers and mercenaries
I want dead and wounded
I want suicide bombers
I want to stay the course
I want the decider
I want imperialism
I want corporate government
I want waste and incompetence
I want unilateralism
I want fundamentalism
I want sectarianism
I want compassionate conservatism
I want the religious right
I want megachurches
I want TV preachers
I want marriage defended
I want the right to life
I want Constitutional amendments
I want global warming
I want environmental pollution
I want oil dependence
I want borders defended
I want corporate corruption
I want jobs outsourced
I want personal debt
I want identity theft
I want the working poor
I want the digital divide
I want spam
I want engineered food
I want fad diets
I want Viagra and male enhancement
I want boob jobs and Botox
I want AIDS
I want the uninsured
I want media moguls
I want propaganda as news
I want news as entertainment
I want disposable culture
I want fame without accomplishment
I want the paparazzi
I want reality TV and Paris Hilton
I want celebrity sex tapes
I want art as advertising
I want materialism and mass consumption
I want more

Overlord (American Dream), 2007-present | 2009 | work | Comments (0)

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