Artists: Ken Kagami, Scott Reeder
Venue: The Green Gallery, Milwaukee
Exhibition Title: The Future is Stupid
Date: June 1 – July 14, 2013
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of The Green Gallery, Milwaukee
The Green Gallery is pleased to present a two person exhibition of new work by Tokyo based artist Ken Kagami and Scott Reeder entitled The Future is Stupid.
Humor has no real place in art. Beauty has always been described as being devoid of laughter. According to Kant aesthetic judgment is disinterested and the contemplation of the sublime is akin to the feeling of terror. The intersection of Kagami and Reeder’s work is entirely superficial – there exists no deep connection. Yet the semblance of a shared project and the resonance of the work in is interesting in that it defines the uniqueness of each artist’s practice within the context of what the other is doing.
Ken Kagami is a collector of the obscene and absurd detritus of consumerism. Finding his degraded medium at the dollar stores or 100 yen stores and thrift stores he sifts and assembles from society’s most democratic places of exchange. This includes the most democratic wasteland of them all: the street. The assemblages are obscene in a childish way: shit faces, boob pillows, and penis drawings. A naïve sexuality and childish humor is found in every object. There is a sense of design in the way in which Kagami chooses to install his work. Undoubtably we look at these strange objects differently within the context of the gallery, i.e. within the discourse of art. There is an intentionality in how Kagami deploys his strange obscenities into the realm of art. Small jokes and jabs at the seriousness and mythology that the art world has constructed around itself. Kagami’s work questions the foundational belief that the basic materials become art by overcoming their materiality through the spiritual medium of the artist; paint can transcend its physicality. But low culture is degraded by its inherent abject nature. It cannot easily cross the threshold art has imposed upon between high and low culture, i.e. high and low class. The question is whether the objects Kagami amasses transcend their existence as obscene low-end products of their respective societies? Then again, must art be necessarily transcendental?
Scott Reeder produced a series of new paintings in his signature idiosyncratic style. These works include his anthropomorphic everyday objects alongside his most recent abstract paintings made with cooked and raw spaghetti. Reeder’s figurative brush paintings cull styles and references from all of art history. Playing with common subjects and techniques of painting he refashions and blends them into his own style and perverse humor. Reeder’s pasta text paintings are the combination of pithy ideas and material simplicity. His approach complicates the gravitas of his subject—namely the history, styles, and traditions of painting—with saccharine colors and atypical subjects while challenging established tastes and preconceptions of value.
In the back room will be Club Nutz, the latest recreation of a miniature comedy and dance club run by Scott and his brother Tyson since 2008. Taking its inspiration from scaled-down venues like Wrong Gallery and GBE’s Passerby, this portable club thrives on the intensity of small spaces, relying on a handful of cheap props and lighting decisions. Past incarnations of Club Nutz include a booth at Frieze Art Fair, London, the ICA Philadelphia, and Salon 94, New York, with performances and DJ sets by Cory Arcangel, Matthew Higgs and Daniel Baumann among others.