UNPOP - September at Tribes


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 10, 2010   

UNPOP           curated by Janet Bruesselbach

September 4 – 30, 2010

Opening Reception with refreshments Saturday, September 4, 8 pm

A Gathering of the Tribes Gallery

285 E 3rd St. #2 New York, NY 10009 (F to 2nd Ave, 5 blocks east, between Ave C & D)

No artist avoids status anxiety from the judgments of polymarkets, and it often seems the only ideology defining art remains anti-Capitalist antagonism, despite pop art’s ubiquitous ironic recombination of fine and commercial art. Myths that art is just who you know are both true and devalue the complex interplay of measures of value. A Gathering of the Tribes, Unpop’s natal location, as of September 2010, is a nearly broke non-profit, non-commercial, arts organization run out of an old blind guy’s apartment. Its mission of diversity is as easily aimed towards unexpected conjunctions of art from the many splintered tribes of art practice, or that fronts at freedom from market constraints. Contemporary pop art rules the market because it is self-consciously and self-righteously a commodity. In Unpop, we show that spaces peripheral to the art market are all the more market-obsessed.Unpop involves artists who either use pop tropes or engage commodification in entirely different ways. The aesthetic of high-saturation solid colors, forms simplified to communicate and ideas spun positive, sarcastically or not, pervade, from the attention-seeking demands of advertising.

Jenny Bhatt has sent paintings from India that fuse cartoon Western popism with the well-established philosophical conversation of Hindu Buddhist mythology, featuring a cast of conceptual deities in consumerist narratives. She makes interactive work and comic strips at her site Washington Chavez went to every gallery in New York City asking them to look at his paintings, and filmed all of it. The result is a queasy litany of rejection, the dying profession of door-to-door salesman multiplied by the eternal buyer’s market of art, emotional sadomasochism intensified by raw documentary recording. Rita Alves’s anamorphic installation paintings are more engaged with the national politics of U.S. human rights violations than directly with consumer politics. The use of funhouse optics to undistort image evidence of atrocities questions the tension artists feel between the obligations to be both sensitizing activists and entertainers. It makes the whole commodity issue look selfish. Lauren Hoffen paints commercial parodies that literalize ironic double-speak through blacklight-sensitive paint. James Mercer assembles ephemeral cardboard and paint installations (as well as digital and ink drawings) resembling video game levels. They are idiosyncratic, generative rewarders of attention from Millenial observers trained by extremely creative-labor-intensive products.

Inquire Janet@Bruesselbach.com and view online catalog at http://www.tribes.org/web/unpop/