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Los Angeles
Sean Kennedy
Thomas Duncan Gallery
6109 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028
March 19, 2013 - March 23, 2013


In Case of Emergency, Break Glass

Sean Kennedy: Territory: First Solo Show, Thomas Duncan GalleryInstallation view, Sean Kennedy: Territory: First Solo Show, courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery

 

Thomas Duncan Gallery presents three installations by Los Angeles-based artist Sean Kennedy during Week 1 of Territory, a five-week exhibition of solo shows from March 19-April 20, 2013.  I visited the gallery on the afternoon of the last day of Kennedy's show.  Upon entering the unassuming Hollywood space, I worried that I was too late: all of the walls were blank.  Soon after, I realized my observation skills were being put to test and noticed the three ebullient installations suspended overhead.  I copied Sarah Jessica Parker's spot-on impersonation of an air show spectator from Girls Just Want To Have Fun and proceeded to study the assortment of objects floating above me on glass planes.

Kennedy's pieces are conceptual: on one side is an assemblage of dozens of items, on the other is the perception of them.  Although made up of inanimate everyday objects, his installations are organic, living, breathing things...shifting as one changes perspective.  We get a window into Sean Kennedy’s imagination—and perhaps some of his household objects.  The art, however, lies in the number, variety, and composition of these items, which take on new meaning in their relationship to each other and the observer.  One could lie underneath one of the artist's suspended installations and stare for hours—delighting in its constituent parts—and find something new every time.  Like a Millenial version of an old-fashioned parlor game, the observer who can recall the most objects after sixty seconds (without looking) wins.  Shall we?  (Answers appear after the installation photo—no cheating!—and you can post your score in the comments section below.)  Ready?

Sean Kennedy, Untitled, 2013, Copyright Sean Kennedy, Courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, www.thomasduncangallery.comSean Kennedy, Untitled, 2013, 49 3/4 x 73 3/4 inches, height variable, copyright Sean Kennedy, courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery

 

The theme in Kennedy's first installation appears to be one of expediency: the transience of disposable cutlery, the convenience of valet parking and cell phones, the temporary rush of a cigarette...all neatly compartmentalized within three distinct Acts and delivered within thirty minutes or less, guaranteed.  Now it's time to test your memory—the list of materials Kennedy used is as follows:

Pizza boxes, tape, garland, fake bricks, chain, cigarettes, plastic bags, wallets, lighters, money, money clip, printer cartridges, lip balm, keys, keychains, chewing gum, salt and pepper shakers, pens, cellular phones, cell phone batteries, cell phone carrying case, cell phone charger, wireless hot spot, parking receipt, plastic forks, ear buds, rubber bands, utility knife, patterned fabric.  

 

Sean Kennedy, Untitled (detail), 2013, Copyright Sean Kennedy, Courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, www.thomasduncangallery.comSean Kennedy, Untitled (detail), 2013, copyright Sean Kennedy, courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery

 

How many items did you recall?  20-29: Photographic Memory.  10-19: Neck Cramp.  1-9: Forgot Your Glasses.   Next, contrast the urgency of his above installation with his following more subdued piece:

 

Sean Kennedy, Untitled, 2013, Copyright Sean Kennedy, Courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, www.thomasduncangallery.comSean Kennedy, Untitled, 2013, 49 3/4 x 73 3/4 inches, height variable, copyright Sean Kennedy, courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery

 

Kennedy's second installation has a tranquility and patience unlike his first.  While more free-form in its arrangement, the composition resembles the quiet, ordered chaos of the Mondrian cell phone cover included in the assemblage.  The grid-like fabric is crumpled, becoming random; the scatter of reflectors is perpendicular in position.  A passion for collecting is conveyed through the diverse selection of costume jewelry, while its layers and positions suggest a playful rhythm.  These themes are enhanced with the witty inclusion of condoms.  

Sean Kennedy, Untitled (detail), 2013, Copyright Sean Kennedy, Courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, www.thomasduncangallery.com

Sean Kennedy, Untitled (detail), 2013, copyright Sean Kennedy, courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery

 

Thomas, the gallery owner, explained that Kennedy's assemblages float freely on the glass.  Collectors are responsible for re-positioning any of the installation’s unsecured objects that shift in transit.  But that’s half the fun.  Those who wish to retain the artist's exact design will be given photographs of the piece and step-by-step instructions to achieve an as close as possible approximation of Kennedy’s layering technique.  Let’s hope those instructions are more decipherable than IKEA’s.

Week 1 of Territory was a success for Sean Kennedy and Thomas Duncan Gallery: so far, two of the artist's three pieces have sold.  I like to imagine that Kennedy's installations will hang in the lobby of an internet start-up or above a creative thinktank's conference table.  Priced at six thousand dollars, the artist's remaining piece (below) is still available for art aficionados with a sense of humor.  The installation's contents alone, however, might interest collectors and gourmands alike: it contains thirty of Little Debbie's version of Twinkies, the recently discontinued and beloved cream-filled sponge cakes.  Dieters beware. 

Sean Kennedy, Untitled, 2013, Copyright Sean Kennedy, Courtesy of Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, www.thomasduncangallery.com

 



Posted by Jenna Finwall Ryan on 3/27/13 | tags: modern pop conceptual installation

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