LOVE 2018: Purple Hearts is the second in a series of LOVE exhibitions curated by Rachel Stern and hosted by the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Columbia university. This exhibition will continue in the curatorial pursuit of an encyclopedic imaging of LOVE. The image of LOVE, like LOVE itself, is amorphous with infinite definitions and iterations. By turning to a group of artists, each with their own apparent subjectivity, the exhibitions seek a breadth of explanations and meditations on LOVE’s actual and potential forms.
LOVE 2018: Purple Hearts extends this conversation, now focusing on the motif (poetic, visual, cultural) of the Purple Heart.
“In Drake’s song Sneakin’ the line “And she texting purple hearts, Cause she know that we at war” resonates so dramatically with this moment of collective and complex heartbreak. The lyric oscillates between the personal and the cultural, the poetic and the practical, the physical and the digital, the delight and the pitfall of LOVE. Drake’s war over his art, his girl, his reputation becomes manifest as a text, and emoji which in the same instance images the history of political and violent war. It would not be possible for me to here list all of the heart breaks that weigh heavy on us, the collective us, right now. We are mired in image and realities of the contemporary resignification of lynchings, witch hunts of the worst kind, and the shameless pursuit of control or chaos (the distinction between the two becoming ever less clear.)” The curators of this exhibit share with us.
It is this idea of the Purple Heart that LOVE 2018 will pursue. Featuring returning artists from the LOVE series and new additions the exhibition will examine how ‘LOVE is a battlefield’ how ‘LOVE hurts’ and why (or if?) ’LOVE is worth fighting for.’ That is to say, the participating artists have produced the image of their Purple Hearts.•
Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.