Jordan Strafer: Decadence

Opening: Saturday, May 4, 2024 4 – 7 pm
Saturday, May 4 – Jul 7, 2024

University of Chicago
5811 S. Ellis Ave.
Cobb Hall, 4th fl.
Chicago, IL, 60637

Jordan Strafer is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York, whose primary medium is video. Her work revolves around stories of herself and her family, while also relating to a world that reflects the complex nature of racial identity, gender, sexuality, class, and “Americanism.” Situations that often seem absurd redirect the focus from the plot to our own way of seeing and—through their clearly staged and alienated form—allow a critical stance towards a society defined by questionable moral ideas and injustice.

For her exhibition at the Renaissance Society, the artist is producing the second chapter of a larger film project. LOOPHOLE, the first chapter, dealt with a romantic affair between a defense attorney and a juror during a nationally publicized rape trial in the United States in the 1990s. DECADENCE, the second chapter, is elliptical as it incorporates events from the night of the alleged rape, and the celebration after the acquittal. It encircles the events of LOOPHOLElike an embrace. Strafer depicts the loss of any structure and order and exposes the abuse of power, greed, and corruption that underlay the act of sexual violence. The film references the genre of the erotic thriller, which was popular at the time, and juxtaposes the deeply ambivalent feelings of fear and desire.

Curated by Myriam Ben Salah.

DECADENCE is presented in conjunction with a related project at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, June 9–August 25, 2024.

This exhibition is made possible by The Vega Foundation.

Additional support has been provided by Girlfriend Fund.

Major annual support for the Renaissance Society is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional annual support is provided by The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince and The Provost’s Discretionary Fund at the University of Chicago. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

All Renaissance Society publications are made possible by The Mansueto Foundation Publications Program.

Image: Jordan Straffer, Production Still, 2023. Photo: Alan Martin Segal.