previews

  • “Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns”

    Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
    7374 East Second Street
    September 28, 2014–January 11, 2015

    Curated by Claire C. Carter

    The Donald Rumsfeld Scale of epistemology, established post-9/11, famously stretches from “known knowns” to “unknown unknowns.” “Known unknowns,” however, occupy the median zone of well-founded anxiety brought on not by being “in possession of all the facts”—the condition of paranoia as wryly defined by William S. Burroughs—but by having enough of them to extrapolate that grim details have yet to emerge about, say, “black ops,” human-rights violations, illegal extradition, and human trafficking. Here, thirteen artists and collaboratives (including Taryn Simon, Harun Farocki, Kerry Tribe, Jenny Holzer, and Trevor Paglen), exploiting the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, and “insider connections,” respond to the US government’s cloud of unknowing via strategies ranging from evidence-driven truth-telling to critical modes that mirror the state’s artfully constructed ambiguities. Travels to the San Jose Museum of Art, CA, Sept.–Dec. 2015.