Sullivan Goss
Celebrating 34 Years
of 19th, 20th and 21stCentury American Art
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John Nava: Neo-Icons
On Exhibit In Our Cooper & Haines Galleries
October 19, 2006 through November 26, 2006

Installation Shot


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FROM 5 - 7PM

A Few Words About This Exhibit

In the wake of 9/11, not only did America come together -- the whole world stood with us. “Today,” it was repeated everywhere, “we are all Americans.” With breathtaking arrogance, exceeded only by stunning incompetence, the Bush/Cheney administration destroyed that unity in a matter of months.

The disastrous failures of the administration have come at a tragic cost both at home and abroad. And the aftermath of its tactics have unfairly saddled the young people in these images with a shameful legacy. How could their parents’ generation have gone along with a trumped-up and irrelevant “preemptive war?” How could they have accepted a gulag of secret prisons, tacitly approved of torture, tolerated illegal domestic spying and all the rest? How is it that at each critical juncture, the media and the Democrats were cowed into acquiescence? Could the administration’s flag-waving and fear-mongering really have been so intimidating?

In fact, during the headlong rush to war, millions of people, both in America and across the world, took to the streets in opposition to the reckless hubris of the president and his men. Some of the pictures here record the language of those protests. But their voices were glibly dismissed by the smirking ideologues in charge. Instead, they blundered on with upside-down strategies that unified and multiplied our enemies even as they divided and alienated our friends. They eroded American justice and devastated our moral standing in the world.

And so today, our vulnerabilities have hardly diminished. A new attack would, as we saw on 9/11, bring out America’s best just as surely as it would fail to defeat us. On the contrary, we are defeated only when the enormous tragedy of such a crime is played on to license illegitimate war and the corruption of a free society.

John Nava
September 6, 2006

Gericault had the flailing Bourbon government, Goya had Napoleon Bonaparte, Picasso had Franco, Leon Golub had Kissinger and Nixon, and John Nava -- well, he’s had enough. Louis XVIII, Napoleon, Franco, Nixon, Bush Jr. -- all courageous leaders of wars of occupation. The lineage of The Raft of the Medusa, the Disasters of War, Guernica, and Golub’s biting portraits provide a forceful precedent for Nava to use his canvas to protest the grim consequences of unprovoked war. Like his predecessors, Nava finds it impossible to reconcile the viciousness of a war so profoundly futile. Sullivan Goss is proud to present John Nava’s “Neo-Icons.”

- Frank Goss

About the Artist

To learn more about the artist, click here.

What Others Are Saying

  • Like A Good Neighbor - J'Amy Brown, Independent - October 10, 2006
  • Art of Anti-War - Karen Lindell, Ventura County Star - October 22, 2006
  • Political Portraits Protested - Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent - October 19, 2006
  • Montecito Montage, Montecito Meanderings - J'Amy Brown, Independent - October 17, 2006
  • Art Review: Art For Protest's Sake - Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara News Press - October 27, 2006
  • Anti-War Exhibit Sparks Controversy - Beth Fransworth, KEYT Television - 6 PM, October 27, 2006
  • Freedom of Expression -
  • Art Controversy - Another Blogger For Peas
  • They're Worth Less But Spending More - Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Santa Barbara News Press, November 2, 2006
  • Expression of Protest - Beth Taylor-Schott, Santa Barbara Independent, November 2, 2006
  • ON THE TOWN; Arts & Lectures - Lorraine D. Wilson, Santa Barbara News Press, November 5, 2006
  • 'Free speech' does not apply - Mic DeNiro, Santa Barbara News Press, November 5, 2006