Collaboratively curated with Matthew Poole, the exhibition addressed the place of art within the structures of capitalism, democracy and idealism. The project examined ways in which various art practices have described and embedded these processes and structures in artworks as a means to critique their relation to it. This exhibition, catalogue and symposium aimed to underscore this territory as a current and significant question for the political operations of contemporary art practice, when military forces are no longer static but corporate, and cities are companies. ‘Little Private Governments’ proposes crucial questions regarding the locus of individual agency, something that conditions the (e)quality of art practice, in this ever-complex climate of individuation and power in the political sphere. Connecting the curation and production of artworks through writing and discussion, the exhibition project proposed a significant reformulation of the relationship of art to organizational systems and power, developing new definitions for the contingency of art practice within these systems from which it had previously assumed itself to be free.
The exhibition brought together emerging and established artists whose work demonstrates a long-term interest in the rhetoric of freedom and democracy. The exhibition included works by Beech, Pil & Galia Kollectiv, Jenny Holzer, Martin Kippenberger, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Roman Vasseur. The accompanying catalogue commissioned new writing from three authors covering current debates on aesthetics and politics including a collaborative essay by Beech and Poole, and essays by Dr Suhail Malik and Roman Vasseur. A public symposium was held in the gallery in February 2006.