The Institute for Policy Studies, in collaboration with Provisions Library and Street Scenes: Projects for DC, is presenting British artist Jeremy Deller’s “It Is What It Is; Conversations About Iraq,” at the National Mall in Washington, DC, on March 26, 2009. The project features a RV towing the wreck of a car that was blown up by a bomb attack in Iraq.
This project, co-sponsored by Creative Time, was commissioned by the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). The first part of the show was the installation of the destroyed car at the New Museum, which included specialists sitting on a sofa discussing the Iraq War.
The second part of the project is a three-week, cross-country road trip, during which an RV tows the wreck to cities across the US. Riding in the RV are Deller, Jonathan Harvey (an Iraq war veteran and recently demobilized Psychological Operations platoon sergeant) and Esam Pasha (an Iraqi refugee, artist, and former translator for the Chief Advisor in the British Embassy of Baghdad).
Deller aims to spark a public dialogue with this project. As he said in an interview with The Art Newspaper, “To speak with someone who has been in Iraq, has fought there or has lived under a regime, is fascinating to me. I’m setting up a series of opportunities for people to meet and their conversations are at the heart of the project.”
Deller adds, “I thought it would be interesting to travel in this holiday RV with this destroyed car on a flatbed lorry behind us.It’s one thing to do something like this in New York, in a liberal environment, and it’s another to turn up at truck stop in Mississippi.”
This local iteration of the “It Is What It Is: Conversations about Iraq” has been made possible by the support of the Institute for Policy Studies, Provisions Library and Street Scenes: Projects for DC.