An Artpeace Project by Lewis Koch
A Series of Eight Billboards
|A series of billboards by
Madison artist Lewis Koch can be seen during the month of March at eight
locations in Madison, Wisconsin and the surrounding area. The billboard
project is a public artwork intended to engage a diverse local audience
in a thoughtful consideration of one's personal place in global affairs.
Drawing upon the long-held practice of artists making work which confronts the moral dilemmas of their day, this project uses the highly visible venue of billboards -- a first for this area. Seen on each billboard is a single photograph of a tranquil Wisconsin landscape; on the horizon line of each Image. painted in large red letters, is the name of a place in turmoil from the eight geographical areas of the world. The place names -- COLOMBIA; AFGHANISTAN; RWANDA; EAST TIMOR; BOSNIA; WASHINGTON, D.C.; CHIAPAS; and PALESTINE -- are used as examples of places currently in conflict and are not intended to be exclusive of other troubled areas throughout the world.
As an artist's response to the relative peacefulness and calm of our immediate environment, the billboard series (titled IN WISCONSIN) seeks to inspire a deliberate contemplation of various fundamental questions: What is our role as individuals in the global picture? How does our peace and prosperity impact upon other places in conflict? How is it that we are favored to live in relative calm -- when just over the horizon there are innumerable places where people must live with crisis and war?
Much of Koch's work as a visual artist has involved community outreach. Several of his local site-specific installations -- the most recent of which was Duct Tape Works, a 1993 garage installation -- have received considerable media attention. Like much of his other works, one of the primary objectives of this project is to bring provocative ideas into the everyday environment, and to help make it more accessible to a public which might rarely (if ever) see exhibitions in more traditional locations.
Without moralizing or proposing any specific ideology, In Wisconsin is an artist's inquiry in collaboration with the public imagination. Passersby are invited to participate in a dialogue of substance, reflecting on the place we live and how it is we are here.
This project is funded in part by Madison CitiARTS
Commission, with additional support provided by the Wisconsin Arts
Board, WYOU Community Television, Adams Outdoor Advertising, Physicians
for Social Responsibility, and generous contributions from individual