In this age of capturing every small detail of one’s life, celebrity worshipping, and commodification, there is so much insignificance. It’s an excellent source for art. Incorporating the “low” as a subject matter has been around for a hundred years. Dadaists, such as Kurt Schwitters, used found objects. So did Louise Nevelson. Piero Manzoni sold cans of Artist’s Shit for the price of gold in the 60’s. And then we have the combines of Rauschenberg of random objects (tires for example) on paintings. And of course, Warhol painted cans of soup.
Although this practice is old, it’s not past its prime. Prime example: Al Freeman. Unfortunately, I only know three things about her. . 1. Nationality (Canada) 2. Birth year (1981) and 3. she creates fascinating art.
Her “comparisons” is a contemporary dadaism/surrealism/popartish. But this time it’s not about a bicycle wheel, a melting clock, or soap pads.
The artist combines what is regarded as the high in art history with something emblematic of contemporary society. On one side, Michelangelo, Bruegel, Manet, Brancusi, Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Hesse and Warhol; it’s like an art history quiz. On the other, one can see different, eh, stuff. Sometimes it’s a shot of something that happens after binge drinkin. Other times, it’s sushi takeout, a romantic encounter, or celebrities such as Beyonce and some soccer players.
People passed out in a bathtub with yoghurt on their face (or something that looks like it). Such great material. The genius artist Freeman finds a counterpart for this shot in Matisse. She also combines the very similar in a shot of Warhol, just eatin’ his sandwich and some drunk dude eating his midnight snack. A close up of Michelangelo’s hidden self-portrait in the Sistine chapel’s last judgement resembles placed next to someone hanging from a clothes hanger inserted in his T-shirt.
The artist uses the contemporary tendency to capture these weird ass moments and combines it with these generally agreed upon great art. There is a legit but uncanny similarity. And it’s weird (but in a good way).
More Comparisons is on view at Bortolami Gallery in New York until June 17, 2018. You can see some of her comparisons in her online archive.