Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present “All the money IS in the label” by Brooklyn based artist Alex Gingrow. For her first solo exhibition, Alex Gingrow presents dozens of obsessively rendered drawings on paper loaded with cutting, antagonistic humor and a quick trigger finger pointed at the heart of the art world. Over the past five years while working at a midtown frame shop, the artist has collected snippets of sordid conversations overheard from chief art world players as well as from peers working at entry-level positions within art institutions. The resulting works are incredibly revealing, and often baiting epitaphs of insider conversations, reified and displayed, ironically within a frame. With a snarky, sharp wit and a healthy dose of self-deprecation, Gingrow implicates all levels of the “establishment” including Gagosian, Hirst and Warhol, the New Museum and even our own Mike Weiss Gallery.
The impetus for this body of work came from a high profile client who reminded the frame staff to transfer the provenance stickers from the old to the new frames “because ‘all the money IS in the label.’ ” Amused, yet galled, by the ridiculousness of the industry, the artist inverted the words – literally. Using traditional materials of acrylic and graphite on paper, the artist creates her "own" provenance labels replete with gallery names and details and replaces the original titles with fragments of overheard exchanges, and fictional dialogue. The artist's cutting wit shines with titles like Balcony Burning Tampon Tosser and Our love story is written across your bedroom wall. In works such as Hirst is no Warhol. I mean, maybe after he’s dead. But he’s not there yet. (2012), the artist captures the MBA’s perspective – conflating modern and postmodern art with the market, money and popularity.
Growing up in a family full of English teachers, the artist’s practice is heavily tied to literature and storytelling. This literary background is paired with a major dose of class war, which makes for work that cleverly exposes the art world from within. Gingrow’s craft however, is essential to her critical approach. She lovingly labors over the surface, spending hours on a single piece. Her whites are reminiscent of Robert Ryman’s minimalist paintings yet her statements are closer to the conceptual text based works of Jenny Holzer. By exhibiting works composed of out-of-context-snippets alongside phrases from imagined scenarios the viewer is left to fill in the blanks and create their own story. With a mixture of sado-masochism, a romantic desire for acceptance, disdain and a labor-of-love, the artist creates loaded narratives with just a few lines.
Alex Gingrow (b. 1979, Knoxville, TN) currently lives and works in Brooklyn. She attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and received her MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work has been accepted into the White Columns registry and The Drawing Center Slide Registry and has been included in numerous curated exhibitions, most recently at the University of Memphis Art Museum, Ursula Blickle Foundation in Kraichtal Germany and at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York.