Article and Photos by: Samantha Wolk
Union Market’s Lab 1270 welcomes artist and No Kings Collective founder Brandon Hill’s newest art installation Beasts of England. Based on George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm, Hill’s installation presents the novel’s themes of class tensions, racial prejudice and conformism through the lens of post-modern American society.
A “pinks only” sign over a 1950s style washer delicately draws parallels between the figurative segregation of animals in the novel and the American civil rights movement, while other works such as the Five Commandments written on the wall draw directly from the book.
Embracing the trend of ‘instagrammable’ art à la the Renwick Gallery, Hill creates an eerie juxtaposition within his work between the serious, socially critical themes and the playful, photogenic objects he uses to convey them. For instance, Hill uses children’s alphabet blocks to reference how one’s education affects their political paradigm. K for Karl Marx anyone?
Hill’s installation remains thematically aligned with the Orwell’s novel, but regardless of this linkage, Hill insists, “ambition, corruption- that’s not really specific to the Soviet Union- that’s the human story.” And all too often the DC story as well. The exhibition is scheduled to run through May 7.