MARK ROEDER

Well, these are the times we find ourselves in

June 23 - October 9, 2022

Seen here on his death bed in 1873, Napoleon III was elected president in 1848 before seizing power a few years later and declaring himself emperor. Big on infrastructure and modernization (Haussmanization, etc.), he was a populist monarch and the last France had. (Sigh.) Lying in profile, expired as such, the painting also points to another time, a century later, when Stephen Kaltenbach painted his monumental, psychedelic, indelible Portrait of My Father (1972-79), capturing the end of life similarly posed as well a time of cultural growth and possibility. (Sigh.) And about a decade before Napoleon III’s death and a continent away, a photograph was taken in the 1860s of the last Chumash shaman that served as the basis of Roeder’s first show at The Finley, which took place about a decade before today in 2011 and was identically titled, “Well, these are the times we find ourselves in.”

They are, aren’t they, the times we find ourselves in? Always. I mean, aren’t these always the times, even these horrid, regressive, dangerous times? (Sigh.) Not quite resignation but a crucial and foundational acknowledgment of failure, death, and extinction: history is one era ending after another. Relentless. We fall again and again. Tragedy washes over us like the tide.