Adam McEwen’s show at The Goss-Michael Foundation will consist of different media including sculpture, painting, and installation. McEwen’s work resides somewhere between the celebratory and the funereal. It identifies strands of European melancholy in the Pop object, and the scuffs of history and consumerism on the sheened surfaces of minimalism. This is represented through his sculptures, made of machined graphite, a material McEwen has employed since 2007. Each meticulously carved sculpture reproduces the original in scale and detail. These mute representations of everyday objects – an air conditioner, a drinking fountain, an unfurled yoga mat – have a deadened, perfected air that is at odds with their banality and intimacy. McEwen’s work often aims to shake us temporarily out of our passive acceptance of mass media and to highlight the blurred line between history and fiction. One of McEwen’s best known works, Untitled (Jeff, Nicole, Macaulay, Bill, Rod, Marilyn, Malcom), part of The Goss-Michael Foundation collection, is from his “Obituary” series shown at the Whitney Biennial in 2006. He used the over-familiar format of the obituary to create momentary ruptures of accepted reality, since the obituaries were of famous people who in fact were still alive. His monochromatic paintings with blobs of dirty, chewed gum stuck on the canvases, some named after German cities bombed in World War II, work like meditation pieces on expectations, including The Goss-Michael Foundation’s, New York, New York. He has created works made of text messages sent from friends which taken out of context seem to turn into riddles and cryptic questions, twenty of which are permanently installed as wall text at the Foundation titled, Untitled Text Msg.
Adam McEwen was born in Great Britain in 1965 and currently lives and works in New York. Adam McEwen’s work has been included in numerous group shows including Haunted, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), Beg, Borrow and Steal, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2009), The Reach of Realism, MOCA Miami (2009), Into Me/Out of Me, PS1 / MOMA, New York, and the Whitney Biennial 2006, New York. In 2010 he curated Fresh Hell at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, as part of their Carte Blanche series.