Spring 2014: ‘Nullities & Vacuities,’ paintings and drawings by The Art Guys

February 14, 2014

Exhibit: “Nullities & Vacuities” – The Art Guys’ prints and drawings
Location: Kimura Gallery (Fine Arts Building, Second Floor)
Show dates: Monday, Feb. 10-Friday, March 7
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Opening: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 5:30-7 p.m.

The Art Guys. Photo by George Krause.

The Art Guys. Photo by George Krause.

And now for a few words from The Art Guys:
“Allow us to explain.

The large photographs are not photographs at all, but rather scans. These images were made by scanning mundane objects and then they were enlarged. Only one is presented as is with no further manipulation. The titles of are neither literal nor metaphorical. They are just what came to mind at the time.

The drawings are not really drawings. Or if they are, they barely are. They are neither technical achievements nor demonstrations of virtuosic capabilities. There is no interest in that. They are utterances in the guise of art, with marks that, with luck, coalesce into words that have something to do with themselves. They are iterations of the obvious. The graphite marks scratch the surface of literality.

The emotion ‘drawings’ were accomplished by imparting (infusing?) our emotions directly onto the paper. Rather than representing these emotions, we worked with them directly. We want you to feel as we do. They are left unframed so that the material of the emotions may not be impeded. Nothing comes between us.

Overall, there’s not much here. These towering trivialities are next to nothing. Like ghosts of departed quantities, measure for measure, they are calculated to be needy nothings, next to jollity. And like everything else we do, everything he re-cuts two ways. We’re finally getting anywhere.” (Jan. 20, 2014)

Secure Commerce Under Defense or S.C.U.D. (nail scan blur) (2003) light jet print on silver photographic paper, 36" x 78" (framed)

Secure Commerce Under Defense or S.C.U.D. (nail scan blur)
(2003) light jet print on silver photographic paper, 36″ x 78″ (framed)

What other people are saying:
“A cross between Dada, David Letterman, John Cage and the Smothers Brothers.” – The New York Times
“The Art Guys make very funny work that straddles the boundaries between art and life, esthetics and commercialism, the rational and the absurd.” – ArtNews
“Delightful conceptual craziness.” – Art in America
“A mad swirl!” – “CBS News Sunday Morning”
“Those impudent Pimpernals of post-conceptual performance art… always memorable and articulate.” – Dave Hickey
“A free flowing plurality of ideas.” – Walter Hopps
“The kings of artentainment.” – Houston Chronicle
“Hilarious and visually stunning work.” – Houston Press
“Texas’ most outrageous artist team.” – San Antonio Express News

Any Of These Locations Would Be An Excellent Place To Begin A Drawing (2006) graphite on paper

Any Of These Locations Would Be An Excellent Place To Begin A Drawing
(2006) graphite on paper

The Art Guys biography:
The Art Guys (Michael Galbreth, b. 1956, Philadelphia, and Jack Massing, b. 1959, Buffalo) began working together in 1983 after meeting while students at the University of Houston and have continued in a collaboration that spans 30 years.

The Art Guys’ work has been included in more than 150 exhibitions in museums, galleries and public spaces throughout the United States and other parts of the world, including Europe and China. Their work has been seen in more than 40 solo exhibitions among which include the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Tacoma Art Museum, de Saisset Museum, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art and Tampa Museum of Art. Additionally, The Art Guys have lectured at more than 60 universities and colleges throughout the U.S., including Harvard, Chicago Art Institute, School of Visual Arts in New York, Kansas City Art Institute, UCLA, Vanderbilt and many more.

The Art Guys have experimented with a wide range of materials and activities in their attempt to expand the dialogue and boundaries of art. Sculpture, drawing, performances, installations and video are among the many forms The Art Guys have employed. Food, drugs, pencils, baseball bats, car lot flags, toothbrushes and matches are just a small sampling of the unconventional materials they have utilized. Using an open and offbeat “direct-to-the public” methodology, they have presented their work in grocery stores, movie theaters, airports, restaurants, sports arenas and many other nontraditional venues for experiencing art, while also exploiting mass media and entertainment to explore contemporary society and issues. They are perhaps most well known for their numerous staged performances, public spectacles and “behavioral” interventions in a wide array of situations that have blurred the divisions between art and life.

Emotions (2013) emotions on paper (L to R: love, hate, indifference)

Emotions
(2013) emotions on paper (L to R: love, hate, indifference)

The Art Guys often use humor and everyday materials to demystify art in an attempt to welcome a broad range of audiences into the discourse of contemporary art. In this way, their work has been compared to medieval court jesters and fools as well as noted 20th century artists like Marcel Duchamp and Dada, Fluxus artists, Andy Warhol and William Wegman among others.

Articles, reviews and stories about their work have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Art In America, ArtNews, Artforum, Sculpture Magazine, CNN, “CBS News Sunday Morning” and many more. The Art Guys have been included in many books and catalogs, including “The Art Guys: Think Twice” and “SUITS: The Clothes Make the Man” (both published by Harry N. Abrams, New York), as well as in the “The Art Guys: Home On The Range,” a compilation of 25 years of video works released on DVD by Microcinema International.

The Art Guys live and work in Houston, Texas. Visit TheArtGuys.com to learn more.

To get a taste of their tongue-in-cheek work, check out their interview with The Believer  or with Marfa Public Radio.

The Kimura Gallery wishes to thank the Art Guys for their help in setting up this exhibition.

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