The show takes its title from Barbara Kruger’s “We Construct the Chorus of Missing Persons” and gives voice to political art that is nuanced and sophisticated. In 2003, Emily Jacir did a piece in which she asked Palestinians, “If I could do anything for you, anywhere in Palestine, what would it be?” Palestinians living under a regime of severe travel restrictions and border controls could ask Jacir, with her U.S. passport, to run the errands and do the things that were denied them. She visited relatives and brought them proxy greetings and embraces; she watered a tree; she bought anise-flavored liquor for someone unable to buy it himself (because he lived in Gaza, where arak is unavailable.) In the current show, “From Texas With Love,” from 2002, she takes up this theme of restricted movement, asking fifty-one Palestinians what songs they would listen to if they could get in a car and drive for an hour—with no roadblocks and no border controls. The video shows a stretch of Texas highway (near where “Red River” was filmed), and you can select from among the songs chosen by the respondents: Amr Diab? Check. Sawt il Atlas? Check. Jacir’s work is juxtaposed with Luz Maria Sanchez’s “2,487,” commemorating those who died in the Mexico-US border crossing between 1993 and 2006. While these works are polemical, the sculptural pieces of Alice Koenitz and Katrina Moorhead are oblique, quiet, full of irony and indeterminacy and not a little humor. Finally, Brazilians Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimaerães have made one of the most remarkable short films I have ever seen, of the intense labor of some ants to carry off confetti left over from the day after Carnival. The amplified sounds of the ants’ tiny movements imperceptibly changes to a tiny samba, created with the aid of matchsticks. And while I was watching these ants I could not help but think of another Barbara Kruger piece: “We won’t play nature to your culture.” (David Mark Wise)
Through March 22 at I Space, 230 W. Superior.