When there are huge crazy things going on in the news I feel like my little contribution to the internet is not nearly as important as these huge events shaping the world around us. Then, sometimes, I think about Gravity and how it frames questions about our social responsibility and encourages us to build a positive existence even in the face of a lot of destructive ones. And then I think about how art and film really exist for this purpose: to question the normalities around us and make us become better humans. I don't think a lot of art has been doing this lately though so when I saw Chris Dacre's exhibit War Is Fun at the local gallery at Kutztown University I was pretty excited.
Dacre, an artist who has floated around the US and even overseas for a bit when he was a member of the U.S. Airforce, makes vibrant scenes depicting cartoon characters at war. The installation (crappy cell phone pics seen here) includes giant felted & screened wall murals of militaristic bombardment, animal characters flying jets over head & parachuting out of planes, crudely animated shorts of battle, a giant plush cartoon creature at the wheel of a tank, even simpler dark lino (or wood?) cuts of repeated war imagery- all this playing on the idea that war is not just a game, it is a way of life instilled in us at a very early age, a way of life that is just part of growing up and doesn't necessarily have to be. Seeing this playful, interesting take on such giant ideas helped restore my faith in the need for art and reminded me that every kid who sees this exhibit maybe will think twice about re-enlisting, an amazing feat from kick ass work! Hope more artists start making more statements given the current state of things...!