Artist Talk: Jesse Sugarmann
Jesse Sugarmann is an interdisciplinary artist working in video, performance, and sculpture. His work engages the automotive industry as a manufacturer of human identity, accessing automotive history as an index of both cultural progress and social development.
“We Build Excitement” is an ongoing series of performances and reenactments commemorating GM’s discontinued Pontiac Motor Division. Sugarmann creates temporary monuments out of Pontiac Cars at vacant former Pontiac dealerships, capturing these structures on video to speak to both the history of the American auto industry and its unpredictable character. We Build Excitement honors the industry and its workers as well as questions the nature of our often intimate and impassioned relationship to these vehicles. Sugarmann positions the downfall of Pontiac as parallel to changes in American identity, mapping the ways in which personal desire and social orientation are projected on to the automobile industry and the cars we own.