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RONG

Art in the Age of Juicero

RONG

Oct. 10 to Dec. 15, 2018

Opening Reception: Nov. 10, 2018, 4-7pm.



Featuring five artists based in the Bay Area, RONG is an exhibition which explores the theme of RONG-ness.



RONG-ness, these days, is pervasive. We might even say that RONG-ness is the defining characteristic of our time. As technology has evolved, society has... not evolved as rapidly. Inevitably, then, our increasingly complex inventions are put to misguided, absurd, or atavistic uses. Likewise, the increasingly porous boundary between the real and the virtual destabilizes our relationship to the material world. The result is a world in which objects themselves might seem a bit... “glitchy.”


These are general conditions which hover around all art production. Nevertheless, the artists in RONG have chosen to dive directly into this RONG-ness. In fact, they fully embrace it: as if bearing down on a problem could be a way of solving it. Simply put: they misuse tools, or make objects that are all RONG. They make inventions which not only do not work but mock the idea of the invention itself. We might call these works ambiguous, absurd, or internally contradictory, but that would miss the point. They are just plain RONG.


Notably, these artists satirize narratives of progress while reveling in the rogue possibilities which exist just outside those narratives. Paul Taylor’s “Tablet” casts an iPad in concrete --a pun that the Digital Age has more in common with the Stone Age than we may like. Similarly, Anna Rotty’s drippy photographs of flowers reveal a similar kind of slapstick humor. These artists have given up on all the conventional modes of production and decided, instead, to force something new out of their materials by nearly breaking them: art as a kind of pratfall. Selby Cole’s work epitomizes this tendency. Her “Sleep Anywhere Pants” parody silicon valley’s most ineffective “disruptions.” Technically, they work. You can wear them and - hypothetically - sleep anywhere. Nevertheless, there is something deeply RONG with them. Truly, this is - indeed - the age of “Juicero.”

 

RONG: Kirsten Brehmer, Anna Rotty, Paul Taylor, Selby Cole, and Nancy Sayavong. Curated by Elwyn Palmerton

 
Kirsten Brehmer, Untitled

Archival Pigment Print, 24”x30”, 2018.