Turbulence of 2020 is at the heart of new world peace art exhibit at Westport MoCA

WESTPORT — The turbulence of our times in its many facets and topics is at the heart of the new exhibition at MoCA Westport entitled “World Peace.”

The opening reception was held Wednesday night, with MoCA members getting an early look at striking statements and commentary by dozens of artists—both local and international—expressing ideas, angst and messages of hope through a range of mediums.

“We didn’t create the dialogue,” explained Ruth Mannes, executive director, noting that while some people might view the collection as leaning to the political left, it’s more accurately a reflection of topical concerns and controversies captured in photos, paintings, sculpture, video and more.

“It’s the full gamut,” she said.

Ironically, Mannes and Liz Leggett, head of exhibitions, were contemplating the idea for the show well before 2020 brought a slew of social, political and cultural questions to the front burner.

“It was important for me to have this,” she said, speaking to the power of group shows in particular as conveying the mood and tone of the times.

“The staff worked very hard to put this together,” said Bill Felton, board chair, adding they try to do timely exhibits.

“We’re very proud of this exhibit,” he said. “It captures the uncertainty of the times in which we live, which seem to keep repeating themselves in different ways over the years.”

Felton noted that the new, large gallery space at MoCA Westport, located at 19 Newtown Turnpike, affords them the chance to feature more and larger works, including samples from the Class Action Collective’s billboard installations.

“It’s a perfect fit with this show, which is kind of a wide-ranging show,” said Jackie Thaw, of New York City.

She and her three collective partners created billboards for the 2018 political race—one of which is currently being reprised on I-95. The other billboards are again on display throughout the country, mainly in those states where the presidential race runs tight.

“They’re uplifting,” she said, and “not accusatory or finger pointing.”

She said she was proud to see that they make an interesting and unusual addition to this particular indoor gallery show too.

“They celebrate thinking and spirituality,” Thaw said.