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Art, for Richard Kamler, is active: it does something. What it does may be personal; it is also, in most of Kamler’s work, political, social, often collaborative, and always seeking to engage us as participants. If any statement could encapsulate Richard Kamler’s full and diverse body of work over four decades it would be the assertion that art acts as a corrective to that failure of imagination declared by Robert McNamara that caused the tragic wars of the 20th century. What art does is provide a vision, an opening, the potential for a real transformation—not just of consciousness, but in the words of Kamler’s early mentor Frederick Kiesler, “With art we can change the laws of the world.” And with steady conviction Richard Kamler’s art rouses us to see beyond our conditioned reactions—to challenge apparently unbendable realities with the possibility: imagine how it could be different. What if Picasso had painted Guernica before the bombs fell?
The works in this retrospective volume span Richard Kamler’s productive career, ranging from Out of Holocaust (1976), a full-size reconstruction of a barracks from Auschwitz, to the Table of Voices (1996–2013), installed on Alcatraz Island and traveling throughout the United States, to Seeing Peace (2002–present), a continent-spanning collaboration with international artists and the United Nations, to The Tower of Babel (in progress), which explores the origins of language and proposes building a literal tower at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Book: Electronic (PDF File; 205.382MB). Book: Print (Paperback). Published by The Arts in Society, a book series by Common Ground Publishing.
To purchase a copy of Seeking Engagement, please click HERE.
"Out of Holocaust" Exhibition. Magnes Museum. Essay by Joseph Hoffman. 1976.
"The Desert Project" With Collaborator Elin Elisofon. Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art. Catalog essay by Dorothy Martinson. 1979.
"Table of Voices" Adaline Kent Award Exhibition at San Francisco Art Institute and Alcatraz Island. Catalog essay by Stephen Vincent. 1996.