Preview: Todd James "Business As Usual" at The Galería Javier López
The Galería Javier López will be opening its exhibition season with Todd James‘ site-specific project, Business As Usual, later this month. This is the second solo exhibition by American artist Todd James to take place in the United States. The opening of the exhibition is set to take place within APERTURA 2013, an event that is organized annually by the Contemporary Art gallery association ArteMadrid. APERTURA 2013 will run from September 19th-22nd, 2013. James’ exhibition will be on view from September 20th through November 29th, 2013.
The title Business As Usual refers to James’ conception that, despite recent preoccupations with apocalyptic themes of power subversion and chaos in our American culture, the status quo will continue to maintain a dominance throughout the world. James presents a wide array of diverse works from many different series and themes of his past work. Included in the exhibition are large-scale acrylic paintings, gouache and graphite on cut sheets of paper, marker drawings, and a graffiti-based multimedia installation. The collection of works on view can be loosely understood as a timeline of James’ work, from early subway paintings to museum and gallery work.
Celebrating his work with graffiti, Business As Usual will include the re-creation of James’ “Vandal’s Bedroom”, the sprawling, graffiti filled structure that was a highlight of the Art in the Streets exhibition at LA MoCA. Part object, part installation, this imitation of a teenage vandal’s graffiti-covered bedroom provides a glimpse into plans for an artistic coup d’etat. According to the Galería Javier López, “Bleeding marker drawings form letter styles from the rough and tumble 1980s New York subway era, combined with re-purposed cartoon characters performing decidedly off-model activity. A clutter of color, slogans, fantasies, and affiliations is all barely contained, ready to spill out of this eat, sleep, and breathe environment. The piece is a celebration of early influences and an exercise of traditions that remain relevant, holding up better than ever.”
As James sees the relation between graffiti vandals and the authority figures they face, writers step over invisible boundaries set up by quasi-anonymous power structures. Simultaneously, the vandal and the power figure anonymously make claims of ownership within the world they share, resonating with undertones of the biblical David and Goliath. Graffiti-based works force society to confront the complex ambiguities of right and wrong, allowing us to explore the inequalities of human experience in a hegemonic world. This sense of worldwide injustice informs and lends energy to James’ work, while he adds his own touch of comedic relief to bring his talents full circle.