Suspension of Disbelief

March 20 – July 1, 2012 at numerous sites and event based performances in the Federal District and surrounding areas in the former Union state of Maryland and former Confederate state of Virginia.

1920 construction of the Lincoln Memorial by the Piccirilli brothers

The aim of Steve Rowell’s Suspension of Disbelief curatorial experiment is to investigate the rich legacy of Washington, D.C. as a place of intricate historic meaning and arcane ciphers, at the coordinates of cultural, institutional, and ideological vectors of influence. The District, neither a city nor a state, exists in an indeterminate realm, suspended between exception and inclusion. The five artist projects of Suspension of Disbelief act as ephemeral, temporal monuments on a stage crowded with contradictory interpretations of history, memorialization, and public space, in a media-saturated theater of contemporary politics.

Artists in Suspension of Disbelief:

Lize Mogel (USA)
Office of Experiments (UK)
Charles Stankievech (Canada)
Deborah Stratman & Steve Badgett (USA)


Suspension of Disbelief is one of five curatorial projects (each with five projects) as part of the DC 5×5 Project, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ 2012 public art project presented with the Centennial 2012 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Follow some of these projects and others in the 5×5 using ArtAround.



Steve Rowell is an artist, curator, and researcher based in Los Angeles. His spatial practice involves overlapping aspects and perceptions of technology, culture, and infrastructure on, beneath, and above the landscape – contextualizing the built and the natural environment, appropriating the methods and tools of the geographer and cartographer. Photography, video, and audio field recordings are the media of his projects, often exhibited as installations or as public interventions.

In addition to being Program Manager at The Center for Land Use Interpretation since 2001, he collaborates with SIMPARCH and The Office of Experiments.

Steve’s work has been exhibited internationally at a range of galleries and museums including: Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, San Francisco; P.S.1, New York; NGBK, Berlin; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK

Select exhibitions as part of CLUI: The 2006 Whitney Biennial; Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, New York; The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; The Barbican Art Centre, IBID Projects, and Between Bridges, London. With SIMPARCH, his work has exhibited at The Ballroom, Marfa, TX and Year_06 Art Fair in conjunction with Frieze Art Fair 2006, London (among other locations).