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The Gold Violin
The Gold Violin
March 25, 2019 – June 10, 2019
Time and again, we see television fail visual art. There are clichés about outsider artists and plays on high-society types unable to decipher between sculpture and a functional water fountain. And yet, nothing was more thrilling as when Bert Cooper, the peculiar executive at the wheel of the Sterling Cooper ad agency, purchased an orange and red color field painting by Mark Rothko on the show Mad Men. Afraid that Cooper will solicit their uniformed opinions, a crew of staffers strip to their socks and sneak into the corner office after hours. One by one the cast comments, each revealing a piece of their characters: Harry is bewildered by the price ($10k) and begins looking for an explanatory brochure; Jane, Don Draper’s attractive new secretary, quickly declares that it is “smudgy squares”; Sal, the head of art for the office, knows its importance but cannot put his finger on it; and then there is Ken. Ken Cosgrove, is a professional smarmy bro, constantly chasing secretarial corp. And yet in now he is being portrayed artistically sensitive. He recently submitted and had a piece published in The Atlantic about an objet d’arte at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A gilded fiddle. “It’s perfect in every way. Except it couldn’t make music.” There is a new romance to Ken, a spiritual breadth previously unseen. No brochure needed; he gets the Rothko.
The entire sequence is 2:30 minutes long, and the painting is on camera for seconds, but to see true art on television was a beautiful and infrequent occurrence. And yet, nothing beats tricking people into seeing contemporary art. To go beyond the reliable audience for art and reach out to new eyes. To step out of the white cube and insert fine art where there is a greater density. The Museum of Modern Art welcomes 2.77 million attendees a year; a very similar number of people, 2.74 million people, pour a glass of wine and sink into their couches ready to watch Joseline Hernandez, Raheeda, Mimi Faust, K. Michelle, Stevie J, Young Joc… balance life and their careers with all the delicacy of a clap of thunder. Love & Hip Hop Atlanta has been one of the most successful franchises in television history. According to VH1 the series has reached the absurd heights of 5.2 million viewers per episode and the NY Times has reported the show is easily the most successful program in the Deep South of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
This exhibition occurs on the sets of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. The art will not be a focal plot point so much as it will exist on the walls behind the show’s stars. We want viewers to see art, to experience art without knowing what they are seeing. We want viewers to see people on tv living with art. To put art in the everyday, everywhere.
Diego Camposeco is a Mexican-American artist (sometimes using light) from Burgaw, NC whose photography and videos explore the interactions among labor, identity, language, color, and the environment. He received his BFA in studio art with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States.
Bryan Graf utilizes a combination of techniques and materials within his experimental approach to photography. His work explores the tension between control and chance, as he deliberately upends accepted conventions of photographic representation, creating expressive works that speak to a more emotional and sensorial experience of the world. Born in 1982, Bryan Graf lives and works in New Jersey. He received an MFA from Yale University in 2008 and a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston in 2005. His work has been exhibited at the George Eastman House Museum, Rochester, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Maine; and DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts. Graf was the 2015 recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. He is the subject of several monographs: Wildlife Analysis (Conveyor Arts, 2013); Moving Across the Interior ([email protected], 2014); Prismatic Tracks(Conveyor Arts, 2014); Broken Lattice (Conveyor Arts, 2015); and Debris of the Days (Conveyor Arts, 2018).
Kayode Ojo was born in 1990 in Cookeville, TN and received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and is currently living and working in New York. Selected exhibitions include Inventors at the Apocalypse, curated by Jake McNulty, Institut fur Alles Mögliche, Berlin, DE; Natural Flavor, curated by Vivien Trommer, Mini/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow, New York, NY; Ormai, Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris, FR; Running on Empty, And Now, Dallas, TX; Closer, Sweetwater, Berlin, DE; and Invisible Man, Martos Gallery, New York, NY. Kayode Ojo is represented by Martos Gallery, New York.
Elle Pérez was born in 1989 in Bronx, New York and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Since receiving their MFA from Yale School of Art in 2015, Pérez has worked primarily in photography, depicting the intimate moments, emotional exchanges, and visceral details of their subjects and landscapes. Current exhibitions of Elle’s work include the 2019 Whitney Biennial and Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Contemporary Art in the 50th Year of the Stonewall Era at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. There is also a forthcoming solo exhibition with the Public Art Fun, New York. Elle Pérez is represented by 47 Canal, New York.