art | room - a MONA project
You are invited to our Detroit Opening on
October 1st, Saturday from 6 to 10pm
@ the Detroit location - Russell Industrial Center, Bldg. 2, Floor 3
A HISTORY OF MODERN ART, Part II:
Art has become recurrent to a fault, a reflex reaction to its own history. Rather than finding new modes of creation and enlightenment, art has thrust itself into a protracted state of reorientation. The best of todayís artists subdue the cultural present through the internalization of its recent past. So that new art is only about old art.
At the cutting edge of this retro-corruption is the work of Jef Bourgeau. His art is all about reliving the past century, a past that is barely past. And he does so with a sloppy precision that invites creative distortion and a confused aesthetic that comes from misremembering and dislocation.
Living in a remix culture, Bourgeauís work is both composed and engineered by cheap digital tools. His hackneyed revolution of perception and representation is achieved via this instant technology, and the easy access of digital streaming has allowed him to treat the whole of art history as a free zone for resource extraction and dissolution.
Promoting his very own poverty of abundance and dyspeptic sense of the new, Bourgeauís creative destruction delivers its own shock and awe on the backs of others. He brutalizes what's come before without any effort to supplant it. And for him, talking and writing and remaking existing art has become more exciting than actually viewing the originals.
"Art is no longer anything except immobility," Bourgeau explains. "An artist today must be brave enough to close doors, to let new ideas go unused. Today's artist must create art without possibility, without a future. And only then, in this darkness, will it resonate eternity."
'Since he began exhibiting in the early 1990s, American artist Jef Bourgeau has inspired controversy. His practice, which is considered by some to be a provocation against the art world itself, essentially involves the remaking of art and artists, both imagined and real. Bourgeau has been a vexing figure for many and his "interventions" have continued to be viewed as a subversion of traditional notions of artistic practice and integrity.
Bourgeauís art exemplifies the post-modern sense of working in a period when the epoch-making achievements of modern art are already matters of recorded fact. To this end, Bourgeau seems engaged with the vicissitudes of the constructed image, that is, the imageís transposition from one medium and context to another and the traces and consequences of this transfer. For Bourgeau, technology acts as a filter to dissect and rebuild random or banal images culled not only from the art world, but from such diverse sources as mass market catalogues, advertisements, cinema, and the Internet. By isolating and emptying out these disposable, commonplace representations, Bourgeau reinscribes them with a new essence, and in effect, completes them by converting such images into a charged narrative. As such, the mimicking of a second or third-generation "original" is tantamount to a kind of newfound legibility, resonance, and meaning. Art is used as a mediation filter, as a proposition about the act of perception itself.
What Bourgeau aims to dispel then are the Modernist myths of the original and of originality, and of straight-out artistic freedom against the commodity of art objects: all this, alongside the presumed power-sharing of gallery, collector, and museum over the artist and art trends. Bourgeauís best known work, the Museum of New Art, has become a broad commentary on the fact that most people donít actually see real paintings, as they are more likely to experience art as a decal reproduction on the side of a coffee mug. Asking isnít that good enough, after all.'
- Jan van der Marck
is an American photographer, painter and conceptual artist who has become notorious through his sculptures, photography and curatorial work. The most famous and provocative of Bourgeau's work plays on the relationship between iconic imagery and irreverent materials, together forming a new context often drawing upon current controversies and, perhaps, the willfully provocative.
Jef Bourgeau is the founding director of the Museum of New Art (MONA), of Detroit's artCORE (empty storefronts to galleries), and co-founder of the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography.
art | room Detroit location: Russell Industrial Center, Bldg. 2, Floor 3
or, you may make an appointment