Video

A Catalog of American Things

Marisa J. Futernick

A Catalog of American Things, 2021 Single-channel video with sound

Presented as a video slideshow, the ongoing work A Catalog of American Things borrows the notion of the encyclopedia—an “exhaustive” record of the world. Alternately sardonic and deadpan, the work consists of original photographs overlaid with text and is itself an active archive with the potential to be continuously added to and updated. The attempt to catalog “American things” (from government policies to consumer goods) highlights the impossibility of including everything. What is intentionally omitted or missing due to the subjectivity of organizing material? What are the limitations of a catalog and its presumption to be an “official” document?

Click this link to access Marisa J. Futernick’s full artist statement.

MARISA J. FUTERNICK is an artist and writer who tells stories about the promise of the American Dream and expressions of “Americanness,” intertwining the personal with the historical and fact with fiction. Through the combination of text and images, she explores the less visible social and political histories of the United States and its complex mythologies, from the Hollywood Sign to home ownership in Detroit, the corn industry to the 10 missing floors in Trump Tower. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, she uses a variety of media including photography, film/video, installation, writing and artist’s books, radio, and painting. She weaves rigorous archival research together with fictional narratives filled with deadpan humor and the poetry of the everyday, in an ongoing effort to understand and humanize history. Her work has been presented at venues including the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Royal Academy of Arts, London; ICA, London; The British Library, London; Arnolfini, Bristol, UK; Oxy Arts, Occidental College, Los Angeles; Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles; Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA; Harvard University; and Yale University. She is a recipient of the prestigious Deutsche Bank Award and holds a BA from Yale and an MFA from the Royal Academy Schools. Books by the artist include 13 Presidents (Slimvolume, 2016), How I Taught Umberto Eco to Love the Bomb (RA Editions and California Fever Press, 2015) and The Watergate Complex (Rice + Toye, 2015). Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Die Tageszeitung (taz), and Art Papers. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

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