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Time Time and a Half

Installation by Justin Hodges
East Gallery
April 17, 2018
- July 14, 2018

Time Time and a Half is an installation of new work by Georgia artist Justin Hodges at the Albany Museum of Art’s East Gallery. The installation makes use of kinetic sculpture, large-scale photography, and stone as it playfully reimagines 19th century realist painter Gustauve Courbet’s 1849 work, The Stonebreakers.

In Time Time and a Half, the exhibition’s component parts work together to create an immersive whole. On the scale of a small diorama, the installation attempts to reproduce The Stonebreakers 169 years into the future. In Courbet’s original painting, two figures are depicted manually breaking stone to be used for roadbeds in the construction of new roadways in the French countryside. The arduous work is captured in the labored gestures of the figures, as well as their tattered clothing.

Aside from Courbet’s acumen as a painter, the widely discussed aspect of this work is its break from acceptable subject matter for academic painting. The Stonebreakers concretely represents the reality of the working class without shying away from its banality or blemish. Courbet also paints this canvas on a scale usually reserved for paintings of myth or heroics, asserting that the concrete representation of reality is as important as any of the allegorical or religious imagery that preceded it.

In Time Time and a Half, a 6′ x 10’ reproduction of Courbet’s original work hangs as a backdrop to the installation. In the reproduction, the two stonebreakers have been removed using Adobe’s PhotoShop. Several artifacts remain, revealing the alterations. Moving from two dimensions into three, pneumatic hammers sit atop a small stage occupying the space in front of the hanging reproduction. The work is noisy, as the machines pound away at the stones, taking the place of the laborers in Courbet’s original.

Sadly, Courbet’s original work exists only through photography. The canvas was destroyed during World War II. Time Time and a Half is an imitation of the original, with exposed compressors and cords revealing the artifice of the work. A close look at the hanging reproduction reveals the CMYK halftone pattern exposed in the enlargement of the photograph.

The exhibition’s title refers to the increased hourly wage awarded to employees working overtime or on holidays. In an increasingly mechanized culture, Time Time and a Half is an investigation into the value of labor, and an attempt to reconsider the bottom line.

Current Exhibitions

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These works, mostly portraits, are depictions of people immersed in tradition and legacy.