By Catherine Turcer, policy analyst Common Cause Ohio
Arts and politics intersect in a new exhibit at the Cultural Arts Center in Columbus. Local
redistricting reformer and artist Sue Cavanaugh has a solo exhibit she calls Gathering IV: Once Upon An Idea. The show kicks off with an opening reception from 6:00pm-8:00pm on March 25.
Sue Cavanaugh shared why she would like to see redistricting reform, “I’ve always found
gerrymandering to be a strange way to manage a democracy. The idea that current office
holders get to draw districts so that the winner of the election is pre-determined seems the opposite of how a democracy should work.
“The last redistricting was especially upsetting. There is no way for someone living in the middle of Columbus to take a quick look at a map and find out their district. I wasn’t sure what I could do, but I thought I should address it from an artistic point of view. So I designed a bumper sticker that shows the shape of the three Congressional districts that include Columbus and I hand them out. It’s not much, but it’s something.”
Sue’s new exhibit challenges the U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) which determined that corporations had First Amendment Rights and equated money and speech. Sue asked herself, what would corporate skin look like? She envisions it as men’s white shirts, wrinkled and stuffed with shredded cash.
“The idea of corporations as people reminded me of the story of the emperor’s new clothes. In my mind, no matter how many rights we give to them and no matter who says it or how loud they say it, corporations are not people,” said Sue in her artist’s statement.
The notion that money is speech is satirized in “Free Speech” in which packets of shredded cash are labeled “Not for Sale.” Visitors are invited to take a packet home.
The installation features deconstructed shirt parts replete with shredded money from the Federal Reserve. While Sue’s art serves as “speech” about “money as speech,” you may wonder how much it costs to buy a bag of shredded bills. And the answer— $45.00.
Come talk to Sue Cavanaugh about her art during Conversation and Coffee (March 31 from noon to 1:00pm). The Cultural Arts Center is located at 139 West Main Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. For more information about Sue, visit www.suecavanaughart.com. Sue is represented by Muse Gallery.