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THURSDAY, November 4th 
5.30 - 7.30 PM

415. 989 6444

Gallery Talk
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
6.30 - 8.00 PM 

Numb & Number
- About the Show 
- Gallery Talk 

Numb & Number: Related Material
- Artist's Statement
- Artist's Biography
- Select Related Commentary

Gallery Information
- Toomey Tourell 

They Build Walls, 2004 

NUMB & NUMBER: An Exhibition


About the Show
Numb & Number follows on the momentum of Clinton Fein's acclaimed New York exhibition, WARNING!, of which New York Times' Ken Johnson wrote: "This South African provocateur's vitriolic, darkly comic digital montages attack President Bush, his cabinet and his Iraq policies." 

Numb & Number features digital collages and photo-based work reflecting on the last four years of the Bush Administration. From a misuse of the term fuzzy math that shaped the 2000 election to the daily count of the dead and wounded in the war in Iraq, the show focuses on the extent to which numbers are used to numb, confuse and manipulate an increasingly insecure public. 

Fein's digital "Weapons of Mass Destruction" are Photoshop, videos, music, poetry, text, photography and imported images off the Internet. Seamless assemblages, photomontages, crude imagery and irony make up a virtual diary of the missteps and calamities of a second Bush regime.

Find out more here: Clinton Fein and the Art of Political Protest by Deborah Phillips.


Untitled, Welcome to NY Series, 2004


Gallery Talk
Gallery Talk, Informal Discussion
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
6.30 - 8.00 pm

The Numb & Number exhibition deals with current events, the horrors and anguish of war and death as depicted in the graphic editorialized images of Clinton Fein. 

Presenting challenging material, political art, activist art in a commercial gallery is a risky business just as it is for museum administrators and professionals. 

Join Clinton Fein, Stephen Tourell and Nancy Toomey for an interactive gallery talk (produced by Program Director, Hanna Regev), relating to the content of the exhibition. The discussion will include the issues and motivation behind staging a potentially controversial exhibition at a precarious moment in time.

For more information, contact:


Guns Don't Kill, Welcome to NY Series, 2004

NUMB & NUMBER: Related Material

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Artist's Statement

Over the last four years, numbers have shaped our reality. While Al Gore received 50,996,582 votes, George W. Bush gained 271 electoral college votes -- enough to win the election after a five-four majority of the United States Supreme Court reversed a decision by the Florida Supreme Court to order hand recounts of disputed votes. While just one senator could have changed the course of the election by listening to the representatives of disenfranchised constituents, 49 senators voted in favor of implementing the Patriot Act which they had not yet read. It seems the more numbers we are exposed to, the number we get. 

5, 674 former soldiers -- mostly people who recently left the service and have up-to-date skills in military policing, engineering, logistics, medicine or transportation -- will be assigned to National Guard and Reserve units scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army announced June 2004.
784 service members in 2003 alone -- more than 37 of them Arab-speaking linguists -- were fired for being gay.
6 defendants -- a "few bad apples" -- are deemed responsible for the institutionalized abuse resulting in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.
53 pages of vividly detailed and comprehensively documented investigation conducted by General Antonio Taguba gathered dust at the Pentagon until 1 low-resolution photo of a hooded Iraqi attached to electrical wires destroyed America's self-imposed moral superiority.
1, 032 + American servicemembers have died since the war began, and more than 7,032 have been wounded.
12, 778 is the minimum amount Iraqi civilians that have died since the war began according to a very conservative estimate by Iraq Body Count, a project which publishes casualty figures derived solely from a comprehensive survey of online media reports. "You know we don't do body counts," stated General Tommy Franks.
20,000 Iraqi men, between the ages of 15 and 81 have been detained in Iraq since the invasion began, as conservatively estimated by human rights groups at the break of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
90 percent of Iraqis detained in American-controlled prisons there were arrested "by mistake" according the Red Cross.
100, 000 protestors marched to Madison Square Garden on Sunday August 29th to denounce the Republican National Convention in New York according to the New York Police Department.
500, 000 protestors marched to Madison Square Garden on Sunday August 29th to denounce the Republican National Convention in New York according to the organizers of the march.
0 "administration officials" have been found accountable for leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to Robert Novak and other "media personalities."
1, 000, 000 more viewers tuned into a second broadcasting of Paris Hilton's "The Simple Life" than an exclusive live interview with President Bush on ABC on which he stated Saddam Hussein should be executed when captured.
$550,000 was the amount the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), headed by Michael Powell, fined CBS for broadcasting Janet Jackson's breast-revealing "wardrobe malfunction" deemed "indecent."
$0.00 was the fine levied by the FCC against C-SPAN and other networks for broadcasting Colin Powell's February 5, 2003 presentation to the United Nations, justifying a preemptive war against Iraq using information revealed to be patently false.
90, 000, 000 people watched the infamous nipple mar the Superbowl.
The ability of the human mind to filter and selectively apply extraneous variables in the formulation of decisions is what constitutes intelligence. The mind's tolerance of imprecision, uncertainty and partial truth allows it to achieve flexibility, robustness and pliability. This is both a foundation and goal in the design of intelligent technology. The human mind, however, is susceptible to quaint such notions as fatigue, blurry vision, unruly mobs, partisanship, media influence, lies, propaganda and a host of other such external influences that limit effectiveness in its pursuit of speed, precision and accuracy.

With these numbers, we have good reason to be numb.

Read the whole statement >

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, 2004 
60" x 70"(Detail)


Artist's Biography

In a world of superficial sound bytes dominated by a generation absorbed with the self and the surface of things, Clinton Fein's work dissects the vicissitudes of our body politic, pricking the raw nerves that the increasingly conservative mass media tiptoes around. Fein's politically charged art offers social critique through compelling, aggressive, and daring images. He subverts existing imagery by digitally altering, manipulating, and collaging fragments to create striking images that shock, mock, and amuse. George W. Bush becomes King Kong atop the World Trade Center, flailing futilely at inbound airplanes. Condoleeza Rice becomes Marie Antoinette, complacent in finery and bewailing the lack of forewarning of imminent turmoil. "The Last Supper" becomes peopled by the President's cabinet and cronies over a slogan proclaiming "Better Be the Last." The overwhelmed face in Edvard Munch's "Scream" becomes Bush's, or perhaps the American Everyman who did not elect him. 

These images are not mannered or labored; they shoot fast from the hip and are produced at a prodigious rate, promulgated through Fein's website,, in a one-man parallel of the mass media news cycle. On the website, they are amplified by charged "editorial" commentary, whether in prose, verse, or parodies of popular lyrics. This continual program of publication can be read as constituting a type of performance art that simultaneously performs politics through activism.

Read the whole biography >

Clinton Fein

Select Related Commentary
CLINTON FEIN, "Warning" 
By Ken Johnson, The New York Times 

The Importance of Being Annoying 
By Michelle Goldberg, Metropolitan Magazine 

With Intent to Annoy 
By Steve Silverman, Wired 

Asserting a Constitutional Right to Annoy 
By Pamela Mendels, The New York Times 

Hate Mail Won't Dissuade 
By Robert McMillan, Newsbytes, Discovery Channel 

License to Annoy 
Phoenix New Times 

Annoying, but Legal 
Wired News 

Does Anything Go? 
Limiting Free Speech on the Net: 
Five Players Debate the Issue 
By Thomas E. Weber, The Wall Street Journal 

U.S. court protects 'annoying' online speech 
By Elinor Mills, CNN 

Suit Challenges Ban on 'Annoying' Language 
By Associated Press/New York Times

More related commentary >

Mission Accomplished, 2003.

Gallery Information


San Francisco Exhibition

Thursday, October 7 - November 13, 2004

Toomey Tourell Gallery
49 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94118 

THURSDAY, November 4th 
5.30 - 7.30 PM

Gallery Talk
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
6.30 - 8.00 PM 

Stephen Tourell
Nancy Toomey



Phone: 415. 989 6444 
Fax: 415. 989 6446 
For updates and info, contact scott at planttrees dot org.