The Pollock Gallery of the Division of Art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present the exhibition Video Days from November 1 through December 13, 2013. The exhibition features film and video by six artists: Larry Clark, Florian Drexel, Spike Jonze, Nicolas Provost, Christopher Samuels and Ryan Wolfe. The works address issues such as social stereotypes, dogma, human conditioning, risk, chance, and what it means to live the “American Dream.”
“Freedom, prosperity, opportunity, and success are all hallmarks of the American Dream that can be achieved by hard work – at least, that is what people are led to believe by politicians and mass media,” said guest curator James Cope. “In this exhibition, each artist addresses a different motif of what it means to live with the reality of what America has become, a place where people struggle for survival within a broken system that benefits only a select few, the one percent.”
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the 24-minute film Video Days (1991), the directorial debut of American filmmaker Spike Jonze. Made for the skateboarding company Blind Skateboards, it is considered one of the most influential skateboard videos of all time. Jonze has subsequently directed numerous short and feature films, including Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are, Adaptation and the just-released Her starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Also included will be the 90-minute film Kids (1995) by Larry Clark, a dark drama featuring a series of vignettes about an “amoral, HIV-positive skateboarder who sets out to deflower as many virgins as possible while a local girl who contracted his disease tries to save his next target from her fate” (IMDb.com). Some 15 stills from the movie will also be presented. Clark’s work is in the collections of numerous major museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst in Germany.
Other works in the show include the following:
Nicolas Provost’s Storyteller recomposes aerial shots from the Las Vegas casino skyline, maneuvering and influencing the interpretation of images and carefully balancing between the figurative and the abstract. The Belgian-born artist creates work that reflects the grammar of visual storytelling, the human condition in people’s collective film memory and the relation between visual art and the cinematic experience. His work has been exhibited at museums worldwide and has earned a long list of awards and screenings at prestigious festivals, including the Sundance, Venice and Locarno film festivals.
Indian Shield by Detroit artist Christopher Samuels is a five-minute film about Vin, an alcoholic spiritualist bound by the sun and fueled by beer. Vin lives with his roommate Steve, who seems to follow in his eccentric footsteps. It’s business as usual when in the end Vin, Steve and a girl seem to bond over drinks, fishing, disco and sex. Samuels creates works that expose the mythologies of comfort and class in the 21st century while using handmade and everyday objects as symbolic cues. His art has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Austin and venues throughout the world, including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Loops (Gabrielle D’Angelo) by Ryan Wolfe is a short, looping video that illustrates a “hand dance” by the New York artist/dancer Gabrielle D’Angelo. Wolfe earned an M.F.A. from Yale University, has participated in solo and group exhibitions across the U.S. and currently lives and works in Queens, New York.
Suffering is a recent work by Swiss artist Florian Drexel. Drexel most recently participated in the exhibition ARSENIO at Shoot the Lobster Gallery in Luxembourg.
The opening reception of Video Days will be held Friday, November 1 from 5-8 p.m. Curator James Cope will give a gallery talk on Wednesday, November 13 at 7 p.m.
The Pollock Gallery is located on the first floor of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 214-768-4439 or visit www.smu.edu/Meadows/AreasOfStudy/Art/PollockGallery.