Panaceas to Persistent Problems

An Exhibition of Devices for Social Survival

Metal invokes, with its scintillating glimmer, warm burnish and gleam, whole inner worlds of fantasy, aggression, desire, and promise. Alternately signifying wealth, stature, and destruction, the metal object is laden with associative content. It is precisely these associations, social, utilitarian, and emotional, which Sherman's objects do not attempt to circumvent, but rather exploit riotously and fully, insisting that the object return to fantasy and meaning, to moral choices and consequences, to nasty reality. Collectively, Sherman calls these works "Panaceas to Persistent Problems: Devices for Social Survival." Interestingly, we don't recoil at the title. Rather, our interest is piqued: a foreboding augur of our increasing willingness to look hopefully and trustingly toward "solutions" that emerge from techno-wizardry, from visionary tinkering or engineers, both social and technological, and their arcane yet "scientific" combining of materials, quantities, and energies. That this title should feel plausible is a fitting introduction to Sherman's dead-serious comedic intentions. Read on about Ira Sherman traveling exhibitions.

If the title seems plausible, the objects are more so. The "Arbitrator," the "Pavlovian Trainer," the "Universal Preening Device," the "Injection Forming Harness," and others participate to an extraordinary degree in the look, feel, and presence of the "useful" machine. Plug it in, flip the switch, and it works. They are familiar enough to appear believable, technically complex enough to appear "expert," weird enough to really look like the future, and sufficiently beautiful enough to compel desire. The stunning mechanized aesthetic becomes a telling barometer of one's own moral ambiguity. Sherman's objects represent, like the "panaceas," which seduced a significant portion of civilization earlier in this century, a "final solution." Although these implications may not be consciously available to every viewer, there does seem to be a point at which fascination and allure are gradually displaced by anxious disquiet - easily disowned and projected onto the objects as their imagined source.

The Arbitrator
Pavlovian Trainer
Explosion Injection Forming Harness
Gasoline Powered Tick Tugger
Universal Preener

Wrath of Persephone (Pneumatic Anti Rape Device #)

Motorized Mayfly

Small Insect Incinerator

Waiting for Dr. Dickowski

CIA Survival Kit

Universal Preener

Gasoline Powered Tick Plucker