Glenn Brown (survey): Des Moines Art Center, Iowa
Americans Fred Astaire (1899-1987) and Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) were celebrated dance partners who starred in a number of popular motion pictures from 1933–1949. Swing Time was a musical comedy film made in 1936 which, despite a questionable plot, is considered one of their finest dance musicals. It features four choreographed routines regarded as masterful achievements in their field, and the beloved ballad "The Way You Look Tonight" which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (and went on to become Astaire's most successful hit record). However, Swing Time also marked the beginning of a decline in the popularity of the Astaire–Rogers partnership among the general public, with box office receipts falling precipitously after a successful opening. The meeting of popularity and eclipse – beginning and ending – is echoed in Brown’s hybrid composition where the turning heads of two men merge into one. In so doing, allowing this dual-faced Janus (the Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings) to see forwards and backwards at once, Brown swings a metaphorical pendulum between eras and perspectives. Moreover, in the ability to see the future through history (and vice versa), this work could also be read as a self-portrait of the artist.
– Steven Matijcio, Curator, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, USA