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Created in the World Trade Center by contemporary Mexican artist Vicente Ortiz Cortez, Presale of the Falling States of America (USA Presale) is a participatory performance which raises questions about nationalism, capitalism, and their roles in fueling the issues tearing the US apart.

With a contemporary take on Sol LeWitt’s wall drawing certificates, the series consists of 50 animations that work as certificates of authenticity for installations representing each state, and the various issues afflicting the nation. While the animations feature soil in the shape of individual states hovering over a US flag flat on the floor, in the installations soil in the shape of each state lays directly on top of the flag, paired with items that reference social issues. Certificates grant collectors the right to display their states as videos, prints, or as the physical installations they represent. Proof of ownership for all certificates is stored on the Ethereum blockchain, where the NFTs act as archives of US history.

A project from the Silver Art Projects artist residency in the World Trade Center, USA Presale is inspired by the 9/11 Memorial and memories from the news of the attacks. The series reflects on the state of the country, and how 20 years after the September 11 attacks, the country itself is on the brink of collapse.

Presale of the Falling States of America partly takes its name from Richard Drew’s The Falling Man, alluding to the state of free fall the states find themselves in. The series is informed by David Hammons’ 1983 Bliz-aard Ball Sale, a performance in which Hammons sold snowballs on the streets of New York City as commentary on capitalism, and by Dread Scott’s 1988 What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?, an installation that invited participants to step on the US flag to write their responses to the question on blank books. The use of soil in the series references previous works by Ortiz Cortez, who grew up in rural Mexico. The dialogue between soil and the flag put into question the social values associated with earth and human symbols, and the underlying cultural indoctrinations behind those values.

Contract to come

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