In Alabama it is illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket. In Nevada it’s illegal to put an American flag on a bar of soap. In Ohio it’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait. And in Arizona you may not have more than two dildos in a house.
In Rhode Island it is illegal to wear transparent clothing. I Fought the Law (Rhode Island), 2014. Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Olivia Locher’s exhibit I Fought the Law at Steven Kasher Gallery is highlighting the absurdities within the US legal system by portraying acts of civil disobedience against bizarre and unusual laws. Some of the laws that are depicted in the body of work have been removed, some are myths and some remain to this day.
In Alabama it is illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at all times. In Nevada it’s illegal to put an American flag on a bar of soap. I Fought the Law (Alabama), 2013 & I Fought the Law (Nevada), 2016. Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
The pastel colored photographs that reference 60s Pop Art, together with the literal visual interpretations of the state laws, provides a comical effect and further emphasize the absurdities of the legal system. Locher has decided not to distinguish between what photographs depict real laws, which ones that represent laws that have been revoked and images that show regulations that are complete myths. This plays into the ambiguity of the laws and highlights how arbitrary the legal system really can be.
In Oregon one may not test their physical endurance while driving a car on a highway. I Fought the Law (Oregon), 2014, Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Locher’s work is definitely raising some questions about the legal system in the US and the process of making or revoking a law. The exhibition highlights issues that are both political and social and the intersection between the two. Where did these laws come from and what motivated their making? Why are some of them not removed to this day? And what inspired the rumors about the ones that are pure myth? The photographs are clearly demonstrating some laws that are largely unknown to the public, as well as acts that just seem too mundane to be unlawful. The fact that there are myths about laws whose accuracy is difficult to assess says a lot. It raises the important issue of how unattainable the legal system with its complicated jargon can be to the average American.
In Arizona you may not have more than two dildos in a house. I Fought the Law (Arizona), 2013. Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law is on view at Stephen Kasher Gallery until October 21.