On the adjacent wall, Coke/Pepsi (518 Cans) (2012/2016) maps another population sample of sorts. It could at one time be seen simply as “a very broad metaphor for capitalism,” says Horowitz. “Coke and Pepsi are rivals but they’re also best friends.” Develop a taste for cola and regardless of your preference, you’ll end up consuming both. But, says Horowitz, “the choice between Coke and Pepsi, in the context of an election season, can be seen as a political choice.” Does Diet Coke’s silver can still count as a vote for Trump? I hope not. But a vending machine nearby (Coke and/or Pepsi Machine, 2007) doesn’t provide that choice.
While some artists strive to set an unshakable message within their work, Horowitz doesn’t necessarily fit that mold. What excites him, perhaps the most, is the way his works constantly shift and evolve depending on their exact place in history. “A lot of the work is context- and time-specific, and so when the context and time change, the work changes,” he says. Take the bronze sculpture of Hillary Clinton (Hillary Clinton is a Person Too, 2008) that stands upstairs. “How the sculpture functions and what it means, for example, is affected by the evolution of its subject,” explains Horowitz. “In 2008, she was obviously in a very different place than she is today.”
The work is based on figurines that were popular when Horowitz was growing up in the ’70s. “They were kind of like the sculptural equivalent of a greeting card,” says the artist. “Hillary got the honor of being blown up into a life-size bronze statue.” A vibrant cast of characters created in the statuettes’ original dimensions sit on the wall to her right. They span from “Joe the Plumber” to “Community Organizers,” representing a wider swath of the electorate in 2008 and tropes from the campaign. This election cycle, one might imagine Megyn Kelly, Undocumented Workers, and Lyin’ Ted getting the treatment.