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Alexis Rausch: Nobody likes it here

Jun 23, 2023 – Aug 5, 2023

Installation photograph, Alexis Rausch: Nobody likes it here, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Jun 23–Aug 5, 2023, photo by Zachary Norman, © UMOCA

Nobody likes it here is a collaborative photography and performance project between Alexis Rausch and 12 international artists and creators. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rausch created a mask of her own face to be sent, worn, and photographed by others quarantining in different parts of the world. Once received, participants don the mask and play tourists in their cities, documenting the experience through photos. The result is a surreal but intimate travel album commemorating the collective loneliness and paranoia of living through a health crisis.

Historically, American travel booms have followed mass traumatic events––such as World War II, September 11th, and the COVID-19 pandemic­­––as travelers seek to escape the weightiness of the recent experience. This exhibition leans into the aesthetics of 1950s postwar America with pedestals wrapped in “wood-paneled” plastic, slide projectors, view masters, and other mementos of the era, creating a sterile nostalgia overlayed with the adventures of pandemic-era vicarious travel fantasy. As safety restrictions vary globally, Nobody likes it here asks viewers what souvenirs they will keep to memorialize the time of the immediate past.