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ART | ‘Trust, but verify’


Editor's note: this article has been updated to reflect a change in date to one of the upcoming artists' talks.

Indoor, open-to-the-public exhibitions return to Rochester Contemporary Art Center this week with “Trust, but verify,” a group show originally slated for April but postponed due to the coronavirus shutdown. The exhibition consists of three monumental projects that unpack our society’s current grappling with the concepts of truth and trust in politics and media. Its components are structured around the past (Octavio Abundez’s text-based painting installation “A Fake History of Humanity,” which engages the viewer in what they think they know about history), the present (Eric Kunsman’s “Fake News,” an obsessive documentation of headlines and screenshots of news stories during the Trump administration), and the future (Bill Posters and Daniel Howe’s “Big Dada,” a glimpse into possible futures where we are controlled and corrupted by ‘deep fake’ technology, artificial intelligence, and the currency of personal data).

The origin of the exhibition’s title is a Russian proverb, but the phrase was popularized in English through President Ronald Reagan’s frequent use of it during geopolitical negotiations with the Soviet Union. Considering the exhibition’s political themes, it’s even more timely to host the show now, as we approach the presidential election, says RoCo’s Executive Director Bleu Cease.

On Friday, September 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., RoCo will host an in-person opening for “Trust, but verify,” but is asking visitors to sign up online for a viewing time. And the artists’ talks (taking place on September 17 and 19, and October 10) will be presented over streaming platforms. The exhibition continues through November 14. RoCo’s gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., and Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Admission is $2, free to members. Masks are required. 461-2222;