Wearable Expressions:

“My favorites were the funny and political Peaceful Protest Helmets by James Berson. This combination of fun and critique formed the basis of our political protests in the Netherlands back in the 60s, and it appears that the time for it has come again.”

S/Election – Democracy, Citizenship, Freedom at the LA Municipal Art Gallery:

“In some ways, James Berson’s series of Peaceful Protest Helmets may be the timeliest pieces in the show. They are designed to act as deterrents to the abuse of power by either the police or protesters. Not only by recording their actions, but by showing the abusers how these actions will be seen by the world. Not as an article in the newspaper or a segment on the 6:00 o’clock news, but as a clip on social media shared around the world, seconds after it happens.”

32 Artists Consider the Privileges and Burdens of American Citizenship:

“The gallery has also posited its own rhetorical questions on the labels. The one for James Berson’s “Peaceful Protest Helmet” (2016) asks, “In what way has the documentation of violent conflicts affected your perspective on democracy?” A line of colorful helmets are emblazoned with “PEACEFUL PROTEST HELMET,” and a small mobile recording device is attached to each, with the lens facing the viewer. Facing the cameras, I wondered who benefited from the protections supposedly provided by our government and was disheartened to recognize how citizens themselves must hold authorities accountable for their aggressive tactics presently.”

Barnsdall’s SKIN Show Aestheticizes the Politics of Race:

“A brash neon sign carries the subtlest message, and one’s interpretation reveals much about the viewer. “Elvis has left the building but the buildings (sic) still there” it reads – in neon that is sharply divided left to right, with different colors and fonts. In a show about rock and roll this artwork might mean something completely different. In a show about race it can be construed that Elvis was a bridge between two cultures by one viewer while the next will see him as the ultimate polarizing figure. The usually pathetic trope of “leaving meaning up to the viewer” here becomes a poetic detente zone – where a powerful artwork can reflect where each of us stands in an endless emotional conversation.”