Dawn Weleski’s art practice administers a political stress test, antagonizing routine cultural behavior by repurposing restaurants, underground brawls, revolutionary protests, domestic labor, and political offices as transformative social stages. Much of their 24-year art practice is rooted in the dramaturgy of care work, investigating the material artifacts and visual culture of hospitality as an agent of othering and belonging within the project of the U.S. Their socially-engaged projects tease agonism towards antagonism, recognizing interdependence across difference towards radical radicle-ization. Through their projects, Weleski examines how visitors to this land bound as the U.S. simulate hospitality while pre-enacting a policy of hostility as nation state and foreign actor among and with ghosts, guests, co-hosts, and strangers – across all species – that cyclically require our communities to breakdown and revolt; repair and restore; reproduce and regenerate; and estrange and disavow.
Image: Dawn Weleski & Jon Rubin, Conflict Kitchen, 2010-2017. Socially-engaged project located in Pittsburgh, PA; 400+ customers daily for 7 years, 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Image courtesy of the artist.