The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

June 26, 2011 to December 31, 2011 |

Judi Werthein: Do You Have Time?

Do You Have Time? is a film by Argentinean artist Judi Werthein. The project originated when Werthein encountered David Kleinman, the father of a friend and colleague, at a panel discussion held at the New Museum on Julieta Aranda’s work, where the topic of the conversation revolved around memory.

The sole character is David, a New Yorker obsessed with the untold truths behind official American history. The film, created in one single shot lasting two hours, presents his own personal take on North America and its history. This version is not one legitimized by any academic degrees and yet it resonates with the views of many well-informed laymen and women. David is very convincing in his arguments and painstakingly lists important facts that have been excluded and omitted from common knowledge, leading us to doubt the truthfulness of our established American history. Ultimately, this film asks the paramount question: “Is there an official, absolute and complete history of a country?”

The film is projected onto a painting by Tomas Espina, an Argentinean artist whom Werthein invited to participate in the piece by commissioning a painting to be used as a screen. Espina mainly paints with gunpowder on canvas, resulting in imagery based on the destruction of the support material.

Do You Have Time? is an exercise in memory, in recounting history by avoiding a linear use of time; it avoids explaining history as a cause/effect structure where one event is the immediate consequence of a previous one. Do You Have Time? recounts history from David’s memory, a cyclical model of time that allows for revisiting events and incorporating issues that had previously been denied. David’s history is closer to us, to the way we remember, which makes it perhaps more accurate than an official one. Werthein, David, and Espina encourage us to understand that history is a tricky subject that allows the incorporation of infinite revisions and contributions—while also allowing us to take for granted convenient exclusions.

Mónica Ramírez-Montagut , Curator.