Aaron Young at The Company, Los Angeles
No Fucking Way
May 11–June 23, 2012
Opening: Friday May 11, 6-8pm
955 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The Company is pleased to announce Aaron Young’s Los Angeles exhibition, No Fucking Way, on view from May 11–June 23.
Aaron Young’s work can be described in extremes. He appropriates symbols associated with American freedom in the form of motorcycles, muscle cars, and the Flag, as well as its dark underbelly—barricades, barbed wire, and xenophobia (Locals Only!). His most noted work, the performative motorcycle burnouts, are spectacles that serve to reveal what lies beneath the surface while simultaneously erasing the evidence. The grandiose gestures are then reduced to minimal, abstract, sometimes monochromatic results. Although spectacle surrounds Young, most of his performances are completed with very few witnesses.
In the current exhibition, No Fucking Way, six new paintings depict Internet and magazine sourced portraits of tabloid sensations: Casey Anthony, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Knox, Jessica Simpson, Heidi Montag, and the skating rivals Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan. The women obligingly pose with the American flag in some form—either wrapped in it, dangling from their mouth, or worn as a bikini.
The linen canvases are shaped to resemble large three-pointed folded flags, painted in saccharine pink, and flecked with textured circles that reveal the entirety of the image when standing at a distance. These portraits are an amalgamation of previous works of flags from his 2011 New York exhibition, BUILT TOUGH and Young’s “Jesus” paintings (Focus On The Four Dots In The Middle Of The Painting For Thirty Seconds, Close Your Eyes And Tilt Your Head Back). But the works that comprise No Fucking Way are a departure from the male-centric iconography of those previous, as well as a major shift into celebrity psyche and pathology.
By placing infamous Court TV hotties alongside troubled Hollywood starlets, Young has managed to collapse what constitutes an “actress”—those who choose to perform for a living and those who must perform to save their lives. In the most extreme case, 30 Days, a portrait of Casey Anthony, the mother of a missing 2-year-old, poses for a snapshot as she dances at a party, seemingly carefree. In another, Over the Hills, Heidi Montag in a bikini, a snapshot taken soon after undergoing 10 plastic surgeries in one day.
The halftoning effect Young implements evoke mass media and over-saturation, which has become the template for how we absorb these images. This blurring of real and constructed, only existing in the realm of performance, speculation and judgment, implicates the viewer in its consumption, since our observation of these celebrities will always be mediated.
Young will also be participating in the MoCA organized Rebel show, on view from May 15–June 23 in West Hollywood.
Aaron Young was born in 1972 in San Francisco, California. He graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001, and received his Masters of Fine Art from Yale University in 2004. His work has been exhibited internationally at MACRO (Museo di Arte Contemporanea) in Rome, Italy; Teatro di Marcello, in Rome, Italy; as well as performances in Moscow, Naples and New York City. His work has been included in Greater New York, MoMA/PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City; Uncertain States of America Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Oslo (traveled to Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and Serpentine Gallery, London); The 2006 Whitney Biennial Day for Night, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and The 2nd Moscow Biennial for Contemporary Art, Moscow; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, PA. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Kunst and the Jumex Collection. He lives and works in New York City.
For more information or high-resolution images please contact Anat Ebgi, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 213 290 0122.