How to Draw a Tyrant

Wayfarers, 1109 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, December 15, 2017 to January 07, 2018

A Multimedia Exhibition That Explores Labor, Surveillance, and The Political Economies of the Individual Artist’s Voice
Curated By Jasmine Dreame Wagner

Featuring works by Tahnee Pantig, Hiroki Otsuka, Ivan Rivera, David Colannino, Christy Gast, Cynthia Reynolds, Samantha Robinson, Keil Troisi, David “Scout” McQueen, Kate Kosek, Maureen O’Leary, Elise Wunderlich, Charles O’Leary, Yael Azoulay, Meredith Starr and Abby Goodman.


aestheticize what promises to protect
embolden what holds separate
reformulate what cushions from consequence
inoculate against by partial introduction
imply emotional proximity using spatial rationing
render isolate components cohesive using force
participate in iconography as tool for imparting hard lesions
exhibit eagerness to adhere, mania for attachment
enhance core material to obscure origins at all costs
activate excess surrounding protected elements
repeat to add value to infrastructure’s survival strategy
trace servile assets from figure to deflower
induce labor where space attenuates
extract flavor from tangential occupants
crush to maximize the cubic threat of loss
stain what clout transparency clogs
quarantine and gild the boundary
hiccup erratically in equal measures
halve an edge, flay law, tense where touched
fail to complete impartial delivery
desaturate futures that threaten presents
hint at risk

“It’s impossible to extract an artwork from the system in which it gestates, and throughout the studios at Brooklyn Wayfarers, I see and feel the year, its outrage, its ramifications, its garish apparel. Wayfarers’ Members’ work is vocal, political, and intimately knowing – each artwork shares a glittering urgency to instruct, to impart knowledge.

“The works selected for this show engage with the year’s themes, on the work’s terms. They expose. They risk being humiliated, being erroneously cast as carnivaleque or décor. They are sensitive to touch. They are quietly manic and outrageously bold. They grapple with big issues: ethics of consumption, waged and unwaged work and war, race relations and gentrification, generational exploitation, commodification of memory, corrupt monuments, the banking system’s role in monumentalization, the art world’s reckoning with capital and commerce, and the intimate and openly political gestures one must make on the path to creating a public persona—altogether, a hungry-eyed reckoning of capital’s relationship to color, materiality, and to the historical moment.

“This exhibition asks hard and timely questions. The works implore us to revise our relations with commerce, reverence, and sublime outrage. The metaphorical gold that we weld – the resources and materials that, through our interventions, become products of our labor – do we work them for others or do we labor for kings? Do we live in a society, or do we live in an economy?”

– Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Curator

For Brooklyn Wayfarers’ 2017 member show, Wayfarers invited Jasmine Dreame Wagner to explore Wayfarers members’ studios and select works that would serve as points of departure for her writing. How to Draw a Tyrant is a group exhibition of the selected works and a publication of the writings they generated, illustrated with drawings of those works by Patty Barth.

Jasmine Dreame Wagner is an American writer, artist, and musician. She is the author of On a Clear Day (Ahsahta Press), a collection of lyric essays and poems deemed “a capacious book of traveller’s observations, cultural criticism, and quarter-life-crisis notes” by The New Yorker and “a radical cultural anthropology of the wild time we’re living in” by Hyperallergic. She is also the author of Rings (Kelsey Street Press) and six chapbooks. Wagner’s work appears in American Letters and Commentary, Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Fence, and Guernica. She is the recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Connecticut Office of the Arts and grants and residencies from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Marble House Project, Summer Literary Seminars, and The Wassaic Project. Wagner lives in Brooklyn.

Image: Hot Compost (detail)