Curator’s Office and Civilian Art Projects have collaborated on the exhibition craigslist at Civilian Art Projects in Washington, DC. On craigslist, users can search for essentially anything, from jobs and jewelry to casual encounters. Each month, the site receives more than 9 billion page views and more than 10 million new images are uploaded. Artists Joseph Dumbacher, John Dumbacher, Jason Horowitz, and Jason Zimmerman use the popular online community as a conceptual catalyst in their investigation of the identity phenomenon in the age of the Internet and how our online personalities generate a new type of portraiture.
The Dumbacher artist team solicits models on the website to meet them and pose for photographic portraits by offering to purchase a movie ticket to a film of the model’s choice. The Dumbachers meet them at the theater and photograph them in the low lighting, leaving their faces largely obscured. This allows the viewers to project their own identity onto the sitter. These haunting and shadowy portraits reflect the anonymity of the internet posting and our ability to manipulate our own images and personalities to the point of obscurity.
Jason Horowitz solicits models on the site to come to his studio where they sign a social contract based on physical and emotional comfort levels. He then shoots extreme close-ups of the terrain of the body, creating his own type of anonymous portraiture. With the invasive zoom lens view, Horowitz awakens our own biases about beauty, race, sexuality, body image, and exhibitionism.
Zimmerman uses images obtained from craigslist as his found raw material. He looks for images posted by people who are actively seeking sexual partners or indulging in blatant exposure and exhibitionism. He published an artist book, “The Willing”, containing images of people who posted their rape fantasies on the Internet.
An essay by Andrea Pollan, Director of Curator’s Office, accompanies the exhibition that will remain at Civilian Art Projects until April 26th.