saint-louis

Julian Rosefeldt, American Night, 2009, five-channel HD video installation, color, sound, 40 minutes 42 seconds.

Julian Rosefeldt

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

Julian Rosefeldt, American Night, 2009, five-channel HD video installation, color, sound, 40 minutes 42 seconds.

In his sumptuous forty-one-minute, five-channel video installation American Night, 2009, Julian Rosefeldt mines tropes of the western movie genre: the waiting woman, the gunslinger, the lonesome wanderer. One screen features a shawled woman in front of a log cabin looking out across the landscape, another a man on horseback riding through wilderness, and a third an archetypal Wild West street. Characters with dialogue are shown on the fourth and fifth screens, which depict an evening campfire and a saloon brawl. These sweeping scenes are occasionally punctuated by anachronous imagery and dialogue that reference the Iraq war (American troops helicoptering into the streetscape, rallying statements by George W. Bush). However, taken in the greater context of the artist’s work, American Night stands more as evidence of Rosefeldt’s fascination with polemical speech—be it about

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