Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Adam McEwen

Untitled, Txt Msg, 2008 Vinyl black or white mat adhesive on wall (20 pieces) 24 x 24 inches/each panel Photo credit: Art Concept, Paris // Courtesy: The Goss-Michael Collection, Dallas TX

A re-post from my article at back in June 2012.

The Goss-Michael Foundation began as a commercial gallery, but soon shifted focus to a more private collection museum and then they moved from their small Mid Town space to their large building in the Design District. The private collection spaces have become an important trend in the art world. Collectors have always been a driver of collective taste, but normally these collectors would use an art museum as their vehicle of display.

Now, some collectors are creating their own spaces and displaying these works outside the museum setting. Often times they are featuring contemporary artists’ work. The Goss-Michael Foundation focus is on the young and the not so young British artists. The British art scene exploded on the world stage in the 1990’s and some of the most influential artists today are from the UK, so having an art space in Dallas that features these important artists is a real treat to North Texas.

The Foundation’s current show features Adam McEwen. Other than the chewing gum paintings, his body of work is in direct contrast to the flamboyant Baroque style of many UK artists. McEwen manages to stay understated and a little less interested shock value. Think of the subtleties of using graphite to make his sculptures. The semimetal graphite helps to create metal molds and the most common use is in pencils. If you are strong enough to lift them, material in the sculptures could make a drawing. The fact that he uses ordinary objects like an ATM machine or an AC unit made in graphite speaks to our need to look at these commonplace items again in a new light.

McEwen created what looks to be reproductions of newspapers in a suite of several chromogenic prints. Personally I think these look too mundane and don’t re-contextualize the newspaper effectively. I have seen a better attempt from artist José-María Cano. However, McEwen creates some exceedingly more interesting pieces taken from text messages. He brings these digital words into concrete space. His wall of painted text boxes is really quite effective in reflecting our current language and writing shift due to technology. He even lists your options as if you could touch the words on the wall to click “options,” “reply,” or “back.” The Goss-Michael Foundation will display Adam McEwen’s work until July 28th.

Visit for more images of the show.

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