Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Josh Klein at 47 Canal

Josh Klein’s show Quality of Life is a Margaret Atwood urban dystopian ode celebrating a chemically “sustained forever 21”.  Although the show is not a sci-fi warning of what is to come if we continue prioritizing youthfulness, but a contemporary commercial space with video, logos, and serums easily believable for today’s consumerism. The gallery, Canal 47, is a generic tenement on the lower east side, unmarked except for the buzzer.   Once inside, the white walls support a laboratory of artificial objects and videos.  Klein uses 3D printers to make heads whose skin is a print of designer fabrics.  There is an energy IV containing a combination of red bull, yerba mate, emergen-C, sugar, spirulina, provigil, and gasoline. This piece is the only one with an element of grime to it. The rest of the pieces have an antiseptic cleanliness.  There is a witty set of four defriending knives presented in a clear lit up box.  There are two looped videos of interviews with an ageless Kurt Cobain at forever 27, and Whitney Houston at forever 48.  Both personas are interviewed as if they never died.  Kurt Cobain is a digitally modified aviator who answers mundane questions about a reclusive life, fame, working at the food coop, not playing music….  What is remarkable about the videos is wherever you fall on the spectrum of an appreciation for video art/digitally rendered imagery to a luddite disapproving of the digital arts, the underlying commentary of the interviews is clear, and make you want to smile and scoff, whether you are impressed with the technology or the irony.  The videos place the highest premium on looking youthful, remaining immortal at your prime.  Klein highlights a collective denial of aging, and a willingness to believe this is possible and preferable.  Klein uses the latest technology to illustrate our preoccupation with youth.  Although the objects and overall installation have a generic clean line packaging, his commentary on a preoccupation of ‘forever 21’   transcends the sense of an available commercial retail.

No comments:

Post a Comment