Thursday, March 24th, 2011
Rashid Johnson, Aaron Young (All images © Jeff Newman/ThArtCollectors)
A stellar example of one of Arron Young’s frenetic weaves of motorcycle burnouts, looping across a blistering sunset of color on aluminum, was the clear standout. With this continuing series, rooted in live performances whose aftereffects yield tangible works, Young has accomplished a near perfect melding of concept and material creation.
Works by Nate Lowman (who has called himself an image thief) and Rob Pruitt (who has actually been accused of being one) were cleverly hung side by side. Both are artists of appropriation, as well as recent collaborators.
Lowman’s Axis of Evil reproduces a partially complete newspaper crossword. Taken together with its functional title (a reference to the post 9-11 war jargon of President Bush), the image suggests the degeneration of journalism into an entertainment industry and the quickly dying medium, along with news medias’ capitulation in propagating government rhetoric, with the puzzles’ blacked out areas symbolizing censorship and information control.
Rob Pruitt’s piece also dug up a metaphor for extinction. A pair of his signature glittery Panda Bears are a self portrait for an artist who was once himself an endangered species, and has resurfaced in the last decade with a carefully plotted resurrection that is nothing shy of an allegory for the life and death of careers in the finicky celebrity art world. Ultimately, these images (which he has reproduced versions of over and over again since launching his comeback) were a reminder that at his best, Pruitt is an artist of ideas. From his now infamous cocaine buffet to the Annual Art Awards concocted with Guggenheim, watching his moves over the last several years has been more stimulating than much of the visual material he has created.
Also on view were works Dan Colen, Rashid Johnson, Christian Holstad, Roberto Cuoghi, Piotr Uklański, Rudolf Stingel, Yan Pei-Ming, Jim Shaw, Roland Flexner, and John Armleder.