November 1 – December 31, 2020
A fitted bedsheet is difficult to fold. While made of a single piece of fabric—a single plane—it is insistently voluminous. It is made to embrace and to contain. This sheet is white. As a flag, it might read as a sign of surrender (I show my stains, I am vulnerable) to an enemy, an antagonist, or the weather… Or it serves as an outsize complaint, an airing of dirty laundry, of this country’s whiteness, issued by our protagonist, whose energy is now flagging. Our protagonist seeks a place of rest, yet in sleep the sheets become twisted, mummifying. In the dream, the bodies are covered in sheets… This sheet is made of cotton. As a flag, it reminds us that the rise of this country was inextricably tied to the cultivation of cotton, and therefore to the labor of enslaved people. Thus is the fabric of our nation. To wrap oneself in the flag is to “make an excessive show of one’s patriotism, especially for political ends.” Inflated by the winds of protest, this flag becomes a memorial as much as a container for history.
Mira Dayal is an artist, critic, and curator based in New York. Her studio work often involves laborious play with language, material, and site, and has been shown at Gymnasium, Lubov, NURTUREart, NARS Foundation, Abrons Art Center, and other spaces. She has participated in residencies with Art in General and A.I.R. Gallery and has curated exhibitions and programs at SOHO20, CUE Art Foundation, Barnard College, and other venues. Dayal is a co-organizer of the residency program rehearsal, co-curator of the collaborative artist publication prompt:, and a regular contributor at Artforum. She teaches courses on art writing and conceptual projects at the International Center of Photography.