Time Out Chicago, Issue 269 : Apr 22–28, 2010

Joshua Mosley, International, Donald Young Gallery
by Lauren Weinberg

The art world rarely gives a voice to the private sector underwriting it. So it’s surprising to find the late Friedrich Hayek and George R. Brown starring in Joshua Mosley’s elliptical 2010 installation International. Hayek, an Austrian economist, was a free-market proponent who taught at U. of C. in the 1950s. Brown was a Texas entrepreneur whose engineering and construction company evolved into the massive military contractor KBR.

Though Hayek and Brown never met, Mosley constructs a stilted conversation for them out of excerpts from decades-old audio interviews. Their dialogue plays over the animation that’s International’s centerpiece. The project also includes cast-bronze sculptures of Hayek, Brown and a 1937 International flatbed truck.

The truck glides through the animation as a 3-D scan, photorealistic except for its ghostly all-white appearance. It gives Mosley’s video the appearance of live action. But the Philly-based SAIC alum actually alternates still photos of sites important to Hayek and Brown—the Swiss resort Mont Pelerin and a Colorado River dam—with images of Oregon logging roads.

Hayek and Brown, accompanied by Mosley’s pensive piano composition, discuss the “altruism” of profit seeking and the need for government to support business. The artist doesn’t reveal his opinion of these beliefs, or what links the duo to the truck and Oregon. His bronze sculptures of Hayek and Brown could portray them as “great” men or parody real monuments with their small scale. The animation’s three distant locations, all integral to 20th-century commerce, make us consider how ideas as well as goods cross borders—but International remains frustratingly opaque.