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    Complete archive, 1999-present


      Wheel of War 2004 in Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry- Go- Round and Recent Aquisitions
       Courtesy Galerie St. Etienne. Reproduced in the book "Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round"
      "Wheel of War" 2004
    Marching in synch

    'Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round' is Sue Coe's series of small but mighty drawings that criticize the Bush agenda.


    While the Republican National Convention and its attendant protests are in full swing, visitors and residents alike can march or stroll up to 57th Street, to view a timely exhibit of Sue Coe's provocative images. Gallery St. Etienne, where her series 'Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round' is being shown, is a rather unusual and special gallery that also exhibits Austrian and German Expressionism, from Kathe Kollwitz to George Grosz. Sue Coe, originally a British artist, made her home here during the eighties when she worked as an illustrator at the New York Times, and now makes mixed media images on international political and economic themes. Hand drawn, in the tradition of social and political commentary, these richly toned, small works tackle the current war on terror, our occupation of Iraq, and slogans such as "No child left behind" in images that mix allegory with overt visual criticism of the Bush agenda and its effects.

    Exhibition: Bully: Master of the Global Merry- Go- Round and Recent Aquisitions.
    Drawings by: Sue Coe.
    June 8 - October 16, 2004

    Gallery: Galerie St. Etienne
    24 W. 57 St.
    New York NY
    Phone: (212) 765-8493

    Coe actively draws inspiration and literary effects from her predecessors, from Hogarth who exposed the social hypocrisies of the eighteenth century, to Bosch who had a surrealist take on Christian morality, or to Blake who explored the inextricable relationship between good and evil. Yet she lacks the empathetic crispness of Daumier, or the articulate heartbeat of Kathe Kollwitz. Coe's drawing techniques hark back to early printing processes like lithography, while the smallness of her images render their intensity more clearly, and make what would otherwise be nostalgic effects of charcoal and gritty chiaroscuro, immediate.

    Her allegorical tools include ferris wheels as well as merry-go-rounds; they embody relentlessly mechanical wheels of fortune alongside associations of carnivalesque escapism. 'Flea Circus' tackles celebrity vicitms Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Martha Stewart. They have been turned into miniature circus performers. 'Leave No Child Behind' is an example of an image that could be considered corny, yet is a powerful didactic statement. It is a crudely drawn 'collective' portrayal of the canonic 'Massacre of the Innocents' depicting a two faced George W. Bush holding one child's hand, while dropping missiles from his right on a large group of children.

      America's Leading News Network 2004 in Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry- Go- Round and Recent Aquisitions
       Courtesy Galerie St. Etienne. Reproduced in the book "Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round"
      "America's Leading News Network" 2004
    Coe addresses not only themes of cruelty and victimization, but the necessity for action against institutional racism or sadism. The visual vehemence and lack of irony in her imagery is discomforting, and leaves us disquieted about our daily lives. Because her pointed statements are 'artworks', rather than political cartoons, and in galleries rather than in newspapers, critical battles have been waged about where her works should be placed on the aesthetic scale, and who should collect them.

    In general, Coe's works locate us between a rock that is our self-proclaimed beliefs, and a hard place of our actual practice. Her steadfast refusal to lighten her imagery asks us to personally take responsibility rather than to be contemplatively detached. The difference this week however, is that as marches and active protests have taken shape in New York City, Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round series reflects the current compulsion and a new found conviction to protest.

    AUGUST 31, 2004

    Reader comments on Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry- Go- Round and Recent Aquisitions:

  • Fortuna   from Jackson Sherwood, Sep 6, 2004

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