Saturday, December 28, 2013

Adam Green

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Adam's spectacular Manhattan studio.
I was a fan of Adam's music long before I knew him through his visual art. He is a brilliant musician, and his quick wit along with his mordant sense of irony was something that I responded to immediately. I was excited to discover his paintings during his solo show at The Hole a couple of summers ago. 
Adam has another upcoming show at The Hole called, "Hot Chicks," where he'll be showing his new drawings alongside the works of other artists that he selected for the show. The opening will be January 1st.

Adam's transgressive use of humor, as well as the bustling exuberance, movement, and rhythm are reminiscent of Robert Colescott. Colescott always had a set of drums in his studio and grew up in a family of musicians. There is a distinctive lyrical fluidity in the paintings of visual artists who also play music; in the same way it's easy to spot the dancers in a yoga class, based on the way that dancers approach the technical aspects of each posture.

I started rereading Dave Hickey's Air Guitar, and his description of Donald Duck in the essay, Pontormo's Rainbow, reminded me of Adam's Donald Duck paintings. Hickey describes Donald Duck as being the only Disney character who had "any soul, any edge," and he likens him to being the Dizzy Gillespie of cartoon characters!
We talked about the decadent nature of Garfield the cat, which also keeps reappearing in Adam's work. Growing up I had the entire collection of Garfield books, which had taken me years to complete and that I would read every Saturday morning. At age 12, my new puppy devoured and shredded each and every last page in my entire collection. I burst into tears shortly after discovering the annihilation. I felt like my childhood had been eaten. Eventually, I rationalized the horror and destruction by realizing that when it came down to it, I loved my dog more than Garfield. 
Garfield was huge for our generation. It's not difficult to understand his mass appeal among the children of the eighties, not only was he a symbol of decadence but he was also an anti-authoritarian figure as well. He did whatever he wanted and listened to no one, which definitely appeals to a child's fantasies or anyone's fantasies for that matter! Children are always being reprimanded and controlled by adults, often for merely telling the truth or just being themselves. 
Although Adam's subject matter shares a connection with pop art, his approach also shares a history with Art Brut and Arte Povera. The hybridization of combining pop cultural elements with expressionism, is likewise exemplified in both the paintings of Joyce Pensato and Llyn Foulkes.

Adam had a solo show of all yellow paintings this past summer in Rome. 
This painting was my favorite! It's entitled "piano lesson," and I saw it right before it was shipped to Vienna.

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