Terry Allen: MemWars
December 18, 2021
July 10, 2022
About the Exhibit
Terry Allen presents a three-channel video installation and a related group of drawings, all part of the same series titled MemWars. The video presents Allen, with his wife and frequent collaborator, artist and actress Jo Harvey Allen, performing autobiographical dialogues to introduce related songs. Allen then performs the song, accompanying himself on keyboards, in front of a changing landscape image. There are nine songs in total. The exhibition reflects the artist’s interest in short, evocative theatre pieces called sintesi (synthesis), associated with the Futurist movement. He sees them as “little stabs of memory,” and scripts some of his own in several of the drawings, which have cues specifically for theatrical staging. Other drawings have collaged texts telling stories inspired by incidents in Allen’s own life, with related imagery. Mythology, lore and metamorphosis are strong undercurrents. The punning title for the series suggests the slippery nature of memory itself: one might set out to write a memoir, but if memory is at war, what form would that take?
Content Advisory: This video installation includes images and dialogue that some viewers may find disturbing, including graphic images of war and verbal descriptions of violence, torture, drug use and suicide.
Organized by Carter E. Foster, Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Blanton Museum of Art
Special Event 2/18/22: In conjunction with this exhibition, The Paramount Theatre presents Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band: CIVILIZATION, a concert of songs and stories by Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band (with special guests). Visit their website to learn more and book tickets HERE.
Terry Allen: MemWars is organized by the Blanton Museum of Art.
Funding for this exhibition is provided in part by Suzanne Deal Booth.
Feature Image Credit
Terry Allen, MemWars, 2016 (still), three channel video, runtime: 1:22:28, dimensions variable. © Terry Allen. Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA