‘Dead Labor Day’ an exhibition of new works by Sam Durant opened at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York on March 13th 2010. The title of the exhibition refers to Karl Marx’s description of surplus value as the ‘dead labor’ of capitalist production. The show included a life sized wooden sculpture based on the scaffold used to hang the famous Chicago anarchists known as the Haymarket Martyrs. The sculpture allowed us to walk up the steel staircase and see from the second level the make up of this life sized scale wooden sculpture.

There was also a very amazing light box diagram which showed a diagram of the ‘break room’, an upside down image of a modern tea break room, referring to a ‘International Mass Meeting’, mapping out the speakers and roles of anarchists meeting from the 1900’s. I really enjoyed the small scale version of the wooden platform displayed on a mirrored stand so the observer could see in and beneath the construction.

Sam Durant is a Los Angeles based artist who explores the contemporary political culture by weaving between defining historical and cultural events of the recent and less recent past.

Below is our coverage from Sam Durant’s ‘Dead Labor Day’ at Paula Cooper Gallery.