Daniel Gerwin reviews the exhibition Sarah McEneaney: Trestletown at Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, on view through November 23, 2013.
Gerwin writes: "Modernism made much of the separation between life and art, but I’ve never bought that line. One of today’s hot trends is political or social activism as art, which is variously identified as social practice, social sculpture, or participatory art. Thinkers such as Jacques Ranciere and Claire Bishop have critiqued a lot (though by no means all) of this work as failing to achieve much aesthetically while also being ineffective politically. I find it compelling that McEneaney offers an entirely different model, in which she is deeply engaged in her art and in her community, just not at the same time. In a wonderful paradox, McEneaney does not keep her activism and her art separate at all, they are fully integrated while being completely different endeavors. And she excels at both."