Since the dawn of history, entheogens were thought as sacraments by shamans and ingesting them led to communing with deities, dead ancestors, and spirits. Today, medical research into the synthetic equivalent of hallucinogenic flora and fauna including powerful psychedelics such as LSD and MDMA, has produced possibilities in treating a myriad of psychological disorders through their low-level administration known as micro-dosing. At the same time, pain-relieving drugs used during surgery and in post-operation rehabilitation, have been abused creating large-scale addiction and fatal overdoses in the tens of thousands leading to lawsuits against the main producer of opioids: Purdue Pharma. On October 21, 2020, it was reported that Purdue had reached a settlement potentially worth $8.3 billion, admitting that it “knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet” doctors dispensing medication “without a legitimate medical purpose.”

Apart from Perdue’s intent of criminality, the “war on drugs” initiated by Richard Nixon in 1971 has been won, except drugs are the victors. In the wake of this, scholars have proposed decriminalization of all drugs that will lead to less crime and homelessness, overcrowding of hospitals and prisons, and underscore a humane approach to global drug addiction that has reached epidemic proportions. Curators Zamudio and Puntes say “The legalization of marijuana for recreational use is the first stage in achieving this, and as evinced by certain countries of the European Union, drug decriminalization has led to positive social results in contrast to political conservatives who view that in doing so, would engender drug usage.”

And then, of course, is the use of entheogens and drugs for aesthetic purposes in which many iconic works of art and literature were inspired by. With all these issues within its curatorial purview, Perfect Day: Drugs and Art is an international group exhibition of painting, sculpture, works-on-paper, photography, video, and performance that explores the social, cultural, and political contexts of drugs or mind-altering substances in human societies both historically and contemporaneously.

Responding to an open call various multigenerational artists, many from the Upper and Lower Manhattan Latinx communities and from multi-ethnic minorities from the Bronx, Brooklyn, as well as many WBX familiar artists and creatives interested in social justice and issues concerning environment and mental health.

Curated by Raul Zamudio and Juan Puntes 

Participating Artists: 

Abdul VasAntonio CaroAlvaro VerduzcoArlene RushAvelino Sala • Bill Berry • Bradley ErosChin Chih YangClaudia BaezDaniel RosenbaumDirty ChurchesEduardo Gil • Ernesto Restrepo • Eteri ChkaduaFranck Saïssi •  gua_sIsolde KilleJaakko Heikkila •  Jason Mena •  Javier TéllezJeanette DoyleJelena TomasevicJim CostanzoJorge TaclaJulia JustoJulia San MartinKiichiro AdachiLorin RoserLoy LuoMarni KotakMartin DurazoMax BlaggMiguel Rodriguez SepulvedaMona Saeed KamalNina KuoNoel HennellyOxana KovalchukPedro Sanchez IIIRobert Boyd • Sasha Summer • Seongming AhnSusana SulicTamiko KawataTana OshimaTeresa SerranoYann Leto

About WhiteBox: 

Twenty three years ago, the idea for WhiteBox as the original alternative art space in Manhattan’s Mid-town Chelsea neighborhood arose among a tightly knit local group of international artists, architects, and intellectuals armed with a radical and refined pluralistic and aesthetic sensibility. An asystematic art space open to debate and dialogue inspired by human and cultural history concerned with art taking the pulse of the times. WhiteBox aims to deliberate the present while orienting itself towards a future where through site-specific exhibitions, performances, screenings, readings, lectures, and panel discussions live and online, providing the public with a unique opportunity to experience an artist’s practice in radical, meaningful and evocative ways.

For more information about WhiteBox visit their website or follow them on Instagram.

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