The Banality of Evil
JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2008Mixed Greens is excited to announce Rudy Shepherd’s third solo show with the gallery. In this exhibition, he will show both painting and sculpture.
“The Banality of Evil” is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt in 1963. She theorized that many great evils in history were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths but rather by ordinary people who accepted their circumstances and participated in criminal activity with the belief that their actions were normal.
Shepherd is fascinated by theories of criminal intent with respect to people in the news, such as Mychal Bell of the Jena 6, or Kareem Ibrahim, an immigrant from Trinidad who allegedly plotted an attack on JFK airport. These are not celebrities. They are people made famous by their arrest or the allegations against them, and, to the general public, their history begins at the crime scene. Having researched their lives before the crime, Shepherd paints a portrait based on their newspaper photo. All of the portraits are painted in a similar style, without judgment.
In the north gallery, Shepherd will install a series of negative energy absorbers. The purpose of each sculpture is to be placed in a home, where it can slowly extract the negative energy from its residents and bring harmony to the household. Based on termite mounds found in Africa, Australia and South America, each sculpture is encrusted with amethyst, which has metaphysical properties for stability, peace, calm, balance, courage and inner strength.
Rudy Shepherd received his BS from Wake Forest University (1998) and his MFA from the Art Institute in Chicago in 2001. Since then, he has had solo exhibitions at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (2003) and Mixed Greens, New York City (2004, 2005). His group show venues include the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2004, 2005), The Warehouse Gallery, Syracuse, NY (2007), Triple Candie, New York City (2006), the Swiss Institute, New York City (2006), PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2002), and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD (2000). He received a fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY in 2006.
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