The Politics of Rhetoric is a group exhibition that brings together a diverse selection of new and recent works from across media that address the inherent biases in everyday language. Delving into a variety of personal and public archives for source material, the artists Bethany Collins, Sharon Hayes, Sarah McEneaney, Keris Salmon, María Verónica San Martín and Didier William draw our attention to how those in power manipulate words and phrases, so that they become gendered, racist and/or classist. The exhibition’s title is inspired by rhetoric – the ancient art of discourse – which plays to the logos (logic), pathos (emotions) and ethos (morals) of the listener. The artists in this exhibition explore the uses and abuses of rhetoric in their works, which feature texts pulled from sources, including audiotapes, musical scores, newspapers and the records of southern American plantations. Their works in print, photography, painting, video and performance art, call us to think before we speak.
Image: Sharon Hayes, The Nature of the Beast: Pussycat, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist and the Brodsky Center at PAFA, Philadelphia. Photo: Barbara Katus