TORTURE
CLINTON FEIN SOLO EXHIBITION


2007/2008
Toomey Tourell Gallery, San Francisco
Michael Petronko Gallery, New York, London, Beijing



Torture is a shocking and defiant exploration of America's approach to torture under the Bush administration.

A series of staged and digitally manipulated photographic images recreate the infamous torture scenes from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, transforming the diffuse, muted and low-resolution images into large-scale, vivid, powerful and frightening reproductions.

Fein focuses on the choreography and sexualization of torture, which includes images of prisoners stripped naked, wearing hoods or sandbags as they're forced to stand in excruciatingly uncomfortable positions, simulate sexually degrading acts, are plastered with feces and subject to egregious humiliation. In spite of the horror, the images, stylized with fashion-photography lighting, radiate a profound beauty and eroticism that is all at once seductive, disturbing and unsettling.

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NUMB & NUMBER
CLINTON FEIN SOLO EXHIBITION


October 7th - November 13th, 2004
Toomey Tourell Gallery, San Francisco

"We don't do body counts"
-- General Tommy Franks

Numb & Number follows on the momentum of Clinton Fein's acclaimed New York exhibition, WARNING!, of which New York Times' Ken Johnson wrote: "This South African provocateur's vitriolic, darkly comic digital montages attack President Bush, his cabinet and his Iraq policies."

Numb & Number features digital collages and photo-based work reflecting on the last four years of the Bush Administration. From a misuse of the term fuzzy math that shaped the 2000 election to the daily count of the dead and wounded in the war in Iraq, the show focuses on the extent to which numbers are used to numb, confuse and manipulate an increasingly insecure public.

Fein's digital "Weapons of Mass Destruction" are Photoshop, videos, music, poetry, text, photography and imported images off the Internet. Seamless assemblages, photomontages, crude imagery and irony make up a virtual diary of the missteps and calamities of a second Bush regime.

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WARNING!
CLINTON FEIN SOLO EXHIBITION


August 31 - October 2, 2004
Axis Gallery, New York City

In a world of superficial sound bytes dominated by a generation absorbed with the self and the surface of things, Clinton Fein's work dissects the vicissitudes of our body politic, pricking the raw nerves that the increasingly conservative mass media tiptoes around. Fein's politically charged art offers social critique through compelling, aggressive, and daring images. He subverts existing imagery by digitally altering, manipulating, and collaging fragments to create striking images that shock, mock, and amuse. George W. Bush becomes King Kong atop the World Trade Center, flailing futilely at inbound airplanes. Condoleeza Rice becomes Marie Antoinette, complacent in finery and bewailing the lack of forewarning of imminent turmoil. "The Last Supper" becomes peopled by the President's cabinet and cronies over a slogan proclaiming "Better Be the Last." The overwhelmed face in Edvard Munch's "Scream" becomes Bush's, or perhaps the American Everyman who did not elect him.

These images are not mannered or labored; they shoot fast from the hip and are produced at a prodigious rate, promulgated through Fein's website, Annoy.com, in a one-man parallel of the mass media news cycle. On the website, they are amplified by charged "editorial" commentary, whether in prose, verse, or parodies of popular lyrics. This continual program of publication can be read as constituting a type of performance art that simultaneously performs politics through activism.

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Criminal Vol.2
CLINTON FEIN SOLO INSTALLATION


October 18 - December 31, 2004
African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland, California

Criminal Vol. 2, a solo video installation at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, explores the labels, contradictions, hypocrisies and ironies in the sanctioned and the condemned. It examines notions of construction and destruction, pollution and vandalism, poverty and war, and graffiti and art. The video presents a glimpse at how a strategically placed scribble can represent a political message as strong as an elaborately commissioned, overtly political masterpiece. And, of course, it raises the ever perplexing question: When is art crime, and when is crime art?

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War Against War

The horror of war is difficult to comprehend without being there and witnessing it first hand. Yet those opposed to the war are not all vandals, bleeding hearts and left-wing lunatics as the mainstream media would have everyone believe. Many of those protesting have siblings, children or people they love in the military, and want nothing more than to see them home safely. And not every person opposed to George W. Bush automatically supports Saddam Hussein.

Similarly, many of the riot police who are arresting citizens on the streets of San Francisco do not support President Bush or the war, but are forced to bear the brunt of vicious baiting and taunting vitriol at the hands of some protestors in the performing of their job. There is no black or white in this War Against War.

From ground zero of the antiwar movement, War Agaisnt War is the beginning of an ongoing audio-visual commentary on what the modern antiwar movement looks like and how it operates. The fall of Baghdad, and the toppling of symbolic statues is by no means the end of a new and menacing world order.

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CLINTON FEIN'S ANNOY.COM
SOLO EXHIBITION: 2002

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called it obscene and illegal, corporate trademark attorneys bristle over it, and renowned artist Lynda Benglis has dubbed it "Press Art." In April 1999, the United States Supreme Court weighed in, issuing an affirmation that upheld the basic premise of Annoy.com: indecent communications intended to annoy are protected by the First Amendment of America's constitution. Clinton Fein's Annoy.com is a visceral response; nothing more than an in-your-face, bitterly ironic and unapologetically wry interpretation of the events, politicians, consumer brands and media onslaught that are packaged to relentlessly permeate our consciousness and intoxicate our senses. This solo exhibition took place in January 2002 at Toomey Tourell Gallery in San Francisco.

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Conduct Unbecoming

In 1994 Clinton Fein co-founded ApolloMedia, and in January 1995 released Conduct Unbecoming, the first ever CD-ROM to tackle social issues by providing technological tools. The controversial subject matter dealing with gays in the United States military provoked the United States Navy to threaten a First Amendment lawsuit -- the first time a court would be required to determine whether First Amendment protections afforded to traditional media applied to electronic publishing as well. Conduct Unbecoming pioneered digital activism through its 'e-post' feature - the first ever technology allowing the user to communicate with their elected representatives electronically. Conduct Unbecoming, based on the book of the same name by renowned investigative reporter Randy Shilts, was ahead of its time for practical purposed, although it won the prestigious Critics Choice Award and was dubbed "evolutionary" by Rolling Stone Magazine.

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