Something feels oddly luxurious about John Breed’s strange mixed media sculptures and installations. His work largely depicts a capitalistic culture of excess and its relationship with death, the most provocative of which includes the implementation of skeletons, animal and human. In “Goodbye Paradise“, Breed portrays a silver-plated Edenic scene of human and animal skeletons, speaking to the nature of renewal that is perpetually haunted by our eventual decay. His work breathes new life into these skeletons and other found objects by coating them resin,silver, or gold, giving them an effect of purity and newness. Threaded throughout his work is the idea of monetary value and how the value of something fluctuates within a newer, shinier context. Perhaps the work that best encompasses our excessive capitalistic culture is “In God We Trust,” an installation comprised of silver-plated pig skeletons labeled with the names Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and citi bank. Breed lives and works in The Netherlands.
Teodora Axente is associated with the Cluj School, a group of Romanian artists making work after the 1989 Revolution, which ended Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime.
There is a dark sense of carousing in her work which examines the question of boredom in a secular world. Left to his or her own devices, Axente’s adult figures conjure up spirits or flights of whimsy in seemingly childlike ways, often seeking solace in shiny and tactile objects such as tinfoil, plastic wrap, or furs. However, translated to a non-secular world, each stroke Axente makes seem satirical or political, consciously examining religion or capitalism.
According to the artist, this dichotomy is the exact intention: “One of my concepts is to transform a real fact into a game . . . It is all about play from my perspective, the playfulness is more than a world of novelty in which everything happens and is reconstituted because of the freedom to act, to think.”
Just in time for the election season Steve Lambert brings his iconic signage based sculptures to Los Angeles for It’s Time To Fight, And It’s Time To Stop Fighting, opening at Charlie James Gallery on September 15th.
The centerpiece of Lambert’s upcoming show is Capitalism Works For Me! True/False (pictured above), which is on a nationwide tour of museums, non-profits and public spaces in 2011 and 2012. The sign has been exhibited in Cleveland, Boston, San Diego, and Santa Fe, NM so far this year, and its travels will continue after the gallery show concludes in October. The Capitalism project is among Lambert’s most ambitious to date, in both its scale and its level of provocation. The sign itself blares a question seldom posed so clearly, while also serving to divine public opinion and understanding about capitalism. At every stop on the sign’s aforementioned tour, Lambert interviews viewers about their experience of the piece, posing whether capitalism does in fact ‘work for them’. These video-captured testimonials illustrate how people define and understand capitalism, and their relationship to it.
Lambert will also present five new sign sculptures that amplify the question(s) posed in Capitalism. If the Capitalism project asks its question to the ‘man on the street’, this group of five new sign sculptures speaks directly to the demographic of people equipped to acquire them. Reflecting a fresh awareness that a broad swath of corporate and individual 1%-ers have collected his work over three years of gallery and art fair exhibitions, Lambert has decided to create visual reminders, admonitions, and encouragements to those in positions to collect the work.
I had this exact conversation with Mom and Dad the other night over a bottle or four of wine. The alcohol may have played a major role in our enthusiasm, but it got pretty heated when Dad kept insisting capitalism “just works”. What I’m saying is, if you’re not up to the Michael Moore version, this is a much more aesthetically pleasing and humorous explanation of what’s wrong with the world today, courtesy of the MUSCLEBEAVER design team. And it will cost you less than four minutes of your lunch break!