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  • Provenance

    Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Matthew Day Jackson, 5 November – 22
    December 2005; London, The Royal Academy of Arts, USA Today, 6 October – 4 November,
    2006; The Immeasurable Distance: Cambridge, MIT List Visual Arts Center, April – July 2009;
    Houston, Contemporary Art Museum, October 2009 – January 2010

  • Literature

    USA Today, exh. cat., The Royal Academy, London, 2006, pp. 194–95 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I mean, it’s totally subjective, I’m not saying that the world is in these things that I’m making, but it’s the world as I encounter it. My use of these materials is my attempt to come to a better understanding of the world that I live in. When you take these things that are bits and pieces and scraps, and glue them back together again, and totally dismember them from where I found them, that’s when the ideas start to come in. The scraps develop into formal structures in a way that has become almost automatic, and those forms begin to communicate ideas.”
    Matthew Day Jackson
    The work of Matthew Day Jackson draws on such a wide spectrum of material, ranging across the disciplines of history, art, science, philosophy, sports, music, technology and popular culture, the result is a truly heterogeneous oeuvre. Central to the premise of Jackson’s work is the dialectic between a belief that technology is crucial to man’s advancement whilst simultaneously being responsible for its demise. He consistently explores problematic areas of history, in particular the genocide of Native Americans, the Civil War and World War II, focusing on the inextricability of personal and political happenings. The notion that universal ideas from history and art history can be fused together with personal concerns is something that appeals greatly to him. Rather than simplifying these links, Jackson celebrates their multifaceted nature and enjoys the ensuing confusion. A large majority of the materials Jackson uses are often laboriously hand-carved, incorporating various techniques such as needlepoint and tooling leather into his work, thus directly engaging with the history of American craftsmanship. From the standpoint that most of history resides in mythology, Jackson endeavours to prove how history is mythology. Through the marriage of craft-based techniques that signal a certain degree of authenticity with historical material, he insinuates how viewing history through a subjective filter only makes truth less accessible.
    Dance of Destruction is a conglomeration of prints, photographs and posters haphazardly stuck to the gallery wall that Jackson has re-contextualized into a satirically personal history of America. George Washington’s face appears superimposed on the head of a sphinx, a portrait of Ronald Reagan is drawn from the artist’s conflicting words and a representation of a mushroom cloud over Nagasaki is delineated by bright geometric patterns made with needlepoint. The montage is simultaneously humorous and acerbic, belying an irony that undermines the notion of Great America.


Dance of Destruction (featuring "Lady Liberty" as Shiva, Wovoko, Eleanor, and Jim Jones)

Posters, stickers, photographs, acrylic, push pins & needlepoint.
Approximately 762 cm (300 in). long, dimensions variable.
Signed, titled and dated 'MATTHEW DAY JACKSON Dance of Destruction featuring (Wovoka, Eleanor, Jim Jones and "Lady Liberty" as Shiva) 2006' on the reverse of one of the elements.  

£250,000 - 350,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

13 October 2010