Bob Trotman: Business as Usual

Taubman Museum of Art

Mar. 2, 2024 - Oct. 6, 2019

110 Salem Ave SE
Roanoke, 24011

Bob Trotman’s series Business as Usual is a constantly evolving body of work that satirizes the world of corporate business and high finance by reinterpreting it through the eye of a master artist/craftsman. The Taubman Museum of Art’s presentation of this exhibition will debut several new sculptures in addition to artworks from various institutions and collections to explore Trotman’s rich body of work.

The artist comments on Business as Usual :

“It is one thing to believe that market forces should shape business models, but quite another to believe that they should be the sole basis upon which whole societies are organized. Societies are far more complex than businesses and the health of a society is not measured by profits on a balance sheet.

Since 2005 I have been producing a growing body of work intended to critique this unfortunate tendency. It is called Business as Usual, and each exhibition, which always repeats that title, is a fresh combination of newer and older works assembled to address the inadequacies and injustices of using business as a social model.

Working mostly in wood, I see my efforts in relation to the vernacular traditions of carved religious figures, ships’ figureheads, and the so-called “show figures” found outside shops in the nineteenth century. However, as a contemporary artist, I want to mobilize this tradition to satirize the elaborate posturings of power, privilege, and pretense that secretly, or not so secretly, shape the world we live in. Humor and irony are an important part of my arsenal. These are reinforced by the recent addition of movement and sound, which, by mechanical repetition, can push amusement toward exasperation. My subjects are most often white men, not because I am unaware of the many others that make up our society, but because they are the ones who most need to be called out, both as perpetrators and beneficiaries of the status quo.

In each sculpture I try to hint at a fulcrum point in which power is brought to bear on humanity. It is usually a point of pain and injustice, and it is as old as civilization itself.”

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