New York

Sharon Hayes

Art in General

The title of Sharon Hayes’s new five-channel video installation, After Before, 2005, seems utterly opaque until it suddenly makes sense. Shown at Art in General a full year after the 2004 presidential election but filmed two months prior to George W. Bush’s dubious reelection, it effects a kind of anticipation of a time already long gone. Indeed, the work, which documents the travails of two young microphone-wielding women as they scour the streets of New York City in search of “public opinion,” is charged with a very particular set of anxieties, hopes, and suspicions that feel at once prescient and scarily outdated.

The two interlocutors—an androgynous art student with a thick accent and an African American actress, both hired by the artist—never inquire directly about political parties or current events, but the responses they receive are perhaps unsurprisingly, given the political climate,

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