a few weeks back, i saw artist nic rad's latest exhibit, perennial millennial at victori + mo gallery in bushwick, brooklyn. victori + mo is quickly becoming one of my favorite galleries. every exhibit i've seen there has wowed me and i continue to love the work they show. what i liked most about nic rad's show was his clever approach to assemblage, paintings and pop-culture centric text-based artwork.
the gallery's space isn't very big and yet its gallerists, celine + ed, always make great use of it -- this time that meant showing the work in a salon style and coloring the walls with blue and yellow paint. did i mention there was even a large smiling emoji hanging from the ceiling? moreover, nic hosted a beer pong competition in the space, which i unfortunately couldn't make but it sounded quite literally rad. images and more info from the exhibit below:
perennial millennial is a a group of gestural assemblages incorporating pop culture and textual tropes rooting this series in the language and preoccupations of social media and internet culture, a through line to the unique state of the so-called millennial generation—sometimes derisively so—who occupy a dichotomous space of anxiety and full-throated confidence.
as seen by the invented millennial “jackson johns,” the theoretical progeny of robert rauschenberg and jasper johns within the alternative reality where such a thing might be possible, the works constitute an imaginative revival of dada image making.
as rad says, “this kind of lightlyworn hat of a persona seems very natural for anyone who had 10 screen names growing up.” expanding on rad’s fluid exploration of the rifts and frissons between the physical, textual, and digital worlds, perennial millennial conjures an expressive lexicon layered with references to corporate information design, emoji, social media, and other modern detritus from a constantly evolving and imploding contemporary visual vocabulary. shifts in scale, brusquely applied strokes and varying degrees of layering and impasto lend an immediate physicality to the works. as a dialectic about who paintings are for, and the real and invented narratives generated therein, a second, self reflexive commentary emerges, one which engages generational attitudes toward painting as a medium, and the self assurance/self doubt feedback loop that seems to characterize contemporary art. as a deconstruction of the built associations of recognizable imagery, they distill the aggressive momentum and anxiety of the information age.
* see more of nic's work here *