The title of this exhibit “That Was Now, This Is Then” is intended to encourage some thought regarding the worthlessness of our worldly artifacts (e.g. cellular telephone devices, planned obsolescence named after various fruits & vowels), and also describes the time the artist has spent scattering dust bunnies, researching his old art while preparing for this show of entirely new work. After looking through old drawings from as far back as 10 or 15 years ago, the artist wanted to create new large paintings and minute drawings that somehow punctuated all the work he’s done in the past, as well as showcase never-seen photographs from the last few years.
Williams has always been fascinated with the idea and nostalgia of mid-century style, and how that era appeared so lustrous, yet unpreserved relics would be reduced to rot if examined today, just like the things that we value today will certainly seem peculiar to subsequent generations who may have to unearth our rusty relics from a buried battlefield of hungry bones. “Eyesores and economics volume eight, sideways.” The ideas that make art appealing are ideas that live forever. It’s the idea, the concept that is valuable. Actual rust and oxidation were included in many of Williams’s paintings and sculptures for this exhibit, which is a very lengthy and messy process.
Also on display are several of his writ/poetry paintings that he likes to call “Richard Prince paintings”, as they are in the same vein as his joke paintings: Prince was and is the most brilliant of thieves. He was also the inspiration for “1953 Chrysler”, a readymade piece that was too large for the inside of the gallery, so it only exists within this show in the form of a C-Print photograph. Motorway manifestations. This is by far the most costly, complex, and time-consuming show Williams has done to date, based mostly on the re-stuckist concepts that he has recently reconciled with. Williams has even included a “drawing” which contains an application for funds from the USFR TARP Capital Borrowing Program, so you can also apply for a financial bailout like your corporate taskmasters; past, present, and future in a mash of now. Uncle Neil was right: “Rust never sleeps.” In fact: while you were reading this, the work in this exhibit appreciated by two million percent; that was now, this is then.