NADA House | Above the Fruited Plain (America! America!) | Johannah Herr

May 8 - August 1, 2021

Geary is pleased to present Above the Fruited Plain (America! America!), a solo presentation of works by Johannah Herr.

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War Rug X (Banana Republics/US Intervention in Latin America) a machine tufted rug, is part of Herr’s ongoing War Rugs From America series—rugs which use the material and visual narrative strategies of Afghan War Rugs to interrogate state-sanctioned violence in America. War Rug X applies this rhetoric to the violent legacy of American intervention—corporate and military —in Central America and the Caribbean. It is loosely crumpled in the corner of the room, beginning to climb the wall that has been adorned with bananas and dictators. The vinyl wallpaper, designed by Herr, is a subversive maximalist wallpaper which combines graphic patterning with images of 32 violent rightwing dictators in Central America/ the Caribbean backed by the US (1899-1990). Bananas share the wallspace, a nod to the industry of The United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands International).

This builds on the story that Herr’s single work on paper, The Chemical Composition Of a Coup illustrates, subverting a diagram from a 1950’s Chiquita Banana recipe book detailing the chemical composition of a fully-ripe banana—to examine the US government involvement in the 1954 Guatemalan Coup (where the CIA, in collaboration with United Fruit Co., successfully orchestrated a coup against the democratically elected Arbenz administration). Lastly, the exhibition features the debut of “Banana Republican Recipe Book,” a publication created in collaboration with writer Cara Marsh Sheffler. The book subverts the aesthetic of a 1970’s Chiquita Banana recipe book in service of detailing the violent history of US intervention and exploitation in Central America. Herr’s installation spins an all too familiar tale of state-sanctioned violence and colonialism bolstered by United States intervention and corporate interest.