I N D U L G E N C E S
Jesse Butcher, Jill Frank, Jaime Lynn Henderson, Tibi Tibi Neuspiel, Corkey Sinks, Casey Jex Smith
Goffo at NEXT Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art
The Merchandise Mart, 7th Floor, Booth 9052
April 30 – May 3, 2010
Opening Preview: Thursday, April 29
Fair Hours: 11am – 7pm Friday, Saturday; 11am – 6pm Sunday; 11am – 4pm Monday
CHICAGO: Concertina Gallery is thrilled to participate in Goffo at NEXT Invitational Exhibition of Emerging Art. In Concertina’s curated booth, Indulgences, the historical forces of the art market are revealed through an original patron of the arts in the Western world—the Christian church. The works in Indulgences (the title a reference to the act of paying, whether in confession or currency, for salvation) each examine religious iconography’s long presence in art history and everyday life, oftentimes emerging from the most banal situations.
Jesse Butcher’s installation consists of a handmade roadblock, lacquered black, with the word “Messiah” stenciled on the work’s glossy veneer. This text is a reference to David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidians, who carried a business card inscribed with the name “Messiah,” suggesting a form of self-marketing appropriated from religious power. In Sistine Chapel, Jill Frank worked with high-school students to recreate Michelangelo’s renowned commission for the Papal Chapel. In staged, photographed form, the famous pose between God and Adam takes on a sincere but awkward elegance, speaking more about the act of re-performance than the original event.
In his Assassination Sandwich series, Tibi Tibi Neuspiel playfully juxtaposes iconographic historical figures with an unusual display format: an incredibly realistic piece of handmade beeswax toast. For Indulgences, Neuspiel has painted a series of toast pieces where an image of Jesus seemingly emerges from the charred surface, eliciting a long string of unexpected associations from viewers, and perhaps conjuring the feeling of a miraculous apparition in the most unassuming of places. The oversized God’s Eyes created by Corkey Sinks examines how religious imagery infiltrates even the all-American cultural mainstay of summer sleep-away camp.
Jaime Lynn Henderson’s bible scenes explore the difficulty of abiding by Christian principles in the midst of contemporary temptations. Casey Jex Smith, a practicing Mormon, blends religion with autobiography in his playful collages. Jex Smith’s fragmentary images, culled from children’s illustrated bible workbooks, portray abstract, surreal worlds where religious content becomes transformed into fantasy.
In Indulgences, religious iconography manifests itself as a site to question and reveal the extent that Christian archetypes have informed artist practices and markets throughout time, but also its particular relevance to current art production. As religious imagery converges with the contemporary art market at NEXT, parallels between the sacred space of the white cube—the art fair—and Christian spaces of worship come to light.