Best overtly political gallery (2008)

Daneyal Mahmood

"I don't care if I alienate anybody," gallerist Daneyal Mahmood explains when asked about the volatile work he exhibits. He adds, "I like the theatrical, the spectacle," and his exhibits are generally both. One gallery stalwart is former Soviet soldier Andrei Molodkin, who sculpts clear plastic statues of Jesus and dollar signs filled with Iraqi crude oil; he also draws beautifully wrought ballpoint-pen murals, such as God Is Great, which depicts an Al Qaeda guerrilla and an American soldier passionately swapping spit. Davide Cantoni uses the sun and a magnifying glass to make his fascinating "burn drawings," appropriated from news photos that include a handcuffed Iraqi prisoner and war-shattered Grozny. Australian artist Justine Cooper's "Havidol" show was a pitch-black parody of pharmaceutical ads, with promo materials trumpeting "Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder" and its cure, the little blue pill at the end of the rainbow. The tagline: "When More Is Not Enough." Sometimes it feels good to be alienated.


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