Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck’s mixed media installations explore the mingled effects of cultural diplomacy, government propaganda and corporate advertising strategies. Drawing from a multitude of sources, the artist embarks on a global dérive to tease out public secrets and recontextualize them in the contemporary moment. For this exhibition, Balteo-Yazbeck and Farzin present work from four sprawling series– Cultural Diplomacy: An Art We Neglect, (2007-2013), Modern Entanglements, U.S. Interventions (2006-2015), Chronoscope, (2009-2015), and Israeli Nuclear Arsenal, (2004-2013).
Since the mid-nineties, Balteo-Yazbeck has developed a hybrid practice that incorporates the activities of a researcher, archivist, historian and curator. Working across various mediums, his productions formally resemble or incorporate the works of others, stressing notions of authorship and cultural authority. His entangled narratives are motivated by sociopolitical questions involving gaps in collective knowledge or misrepresentations in the public record, often focusing on the importance of propaganda as a political strategy. Authority is a recurring theme, especially cultural authority. In his works he aims to reveal the political strategies and motives at work in the world by analyzing the dynamics of power and propaganda in modern history and aesthetics.
Media Farzin is a New York-based critic and art historian, and a PhD Candidate in Art History at the City University of New York. Her research focuses on the relationship between art and popular culture in the 1970s, particularly in language-based performance art. Her ongoing collaborative project with artist Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, on cultural diplomacy and its modernist artefacts, has been exhibited in numerous international venues.