What Should an Astronaut-Painter Do?

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Glendale College Art Gallery
What Should an Astronaut-Painter Do?

1500 N. Verdugo Rd, In Library
Glendale , CA 91208
March 10th, 2012 - April 28th, 2012
Opening: March 10th, 2012 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

eagle rock/highland park
818-240-1000 x5663
Tue-Thu 12-5


The director and staff of the Glendale College Art Gallery are excited to present our next show by New York based sculptor David Schafer. “What Should an Astronaut-Painter Do?” is an exhibition of new sculpture with sound by the New York-based artist David Schafer. Schafer has worked in NY and LA producing public and small-scale sculpture and sound works while exhibiting in the United States and Europe. Producing work that incorporates multiple media, including sculpture, sound, live sound performance, graphics, and drawing, Schafer’s work is driven by a range of theoretical and personal references, which manifest around the idea of site, language, and the built environment. Sometimes incorporating humor, he appropriates from the vocabulary and motifs of Modernism, with an array of idiosyncratic subjects from popular culture and theory, developing projects that are sculptural as well as text, graphic, and sound based.

The exhibition “What Should an Astronaut-Painter Do?” includes two sculptures that have accompanying sound with text and graphic work. Each sculpture has to do with a male figure of history, the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and the painter Barnett Newman, both from the late 60’s. The space of the gallery becomes a walk in sound collage with both sculptures’ activating the gallery with sounds emitting and overlapping. Newman and Aldrin talking over each other about their challenges, successes, and doubts.

“What Should a Painter Do?” is a free standing wood sculpture incorporating a 3 channel sound. Looking both easel and painting-stretcher like in its scale, it references the series of paintings “Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue” from Barnett Newman in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Barnett’s comments from the movie “Painters Painting” have been excerpted and modified for one channel of the sound, while the other 2 channels are processed versions of the same voice channel. All 3 channels are emitted simultaneously and looped bringing a quality of “negative formalism” to the sculpture.

“UEBA” (untitled expression buzz aldrin) presents the idea of promise with the possibility of failure. A PA speaker mounted to the small aluminum sculpture plays an 11-disc audio book “Magnificent Desolation” by Buzz Aldrin. The disks may be played in any order or repeated as desired.  Accompanying the sculpture and audio are three portraits of Aldrin. They represent the time before, during, and after the first Apollo moonwalk of 1969. The third portrait is from a Volkswagon ad where Aldrin was reluctantly endorsing the new 1972 VW Beetle.

Schafer's recent projects include: “Roundabout/UEBA” a one person show at Studio10, Bushwick Brooklyn, NY, “Floating Points” a collaborative installation and sound work at the Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, NY, “LOL: A Decade of Antic Art”, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD. Last year, he installed a permanent sculpture for the Huntington Hospital in LA, where he 3d scanned and remixed a Henry Moore sculpture. Recent publications include “Separated United Forms” by Charta Press, Milan, and “Site of Sound #2: Of Architecture and the Ear” edited by Brandon LaBelle, Errant Bodies Press, Berlin. His sound performance in conjunction with the Whitney Biennial of 2010 was recently included in “Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture”, by Peter Krapp, Minnesota Press. Schafer is currently a visiting critic for the Cornell Art and Architecture program in Manhattan. Upcoming projects include “Bodypoint” a sound installation at the Edinburgh College of Art Gallery, Scotland, and “STATICAGE”, a John Cage remix performance/radio broadcast and sculpture installation organized by USC in LA.