Artist of the Week 01/23/06
This disparity is the vein New York artist David Kramer mines for his drawings, paintings, sculptures, and video. From the press release for David's kick-ass 2004 exhibition at Chelsea's Feigen Contemporary:
“In a perfect world I would be one happy mother fucker,” David Kramer declares in a drawing of a beautiful woman posing next to a convertible. “I want to know how the other half lives,” he announces in another of a six-pack of Bud with three cans missing. Such desire is the driving force behind Kramer’s comedic drawings, videos, and sculptures. Perceived inadequacies at work or awkwardness at parties are magnified by juxtaposing his self-deprecating stories with the clichéd expectations of success and splendor showcased in the unreal world of flashy advertising and popular culture.David's drawings are like popcorn. Perhaps popcorn sprinkled with hot peppers, but popcorn all the same. Rife with sad-sack tales of both life and the art world kicking him when he's down, they're at turns profound, biting, hysterical and droll.
David Kramer, Untitled (Less is more), 2004, Ink on paper, 10" x 8 1/2"
TEXT: You always here people say, keep ’em wanting more. Like hold back a little. Make them hungry for more. Well, let me tell you, I’ve got closets full of shit that I’ve been wanting to give. I’ve got piles and piles that I’ve just been waiting for the opportunity to let it out. I mean, look, I understand the hole strategy and I can see the virtues of holding back a little bit just to make people salivate and anxious for the next time around. But hey the only one left around here who is kept wanting more is me. So, “keep ‘em wanting more?” Fuck you.
(Image from Feigen Contemporary website)
In real life David is as Seinfeldian a person as you're likely to meet, smart, sardonic, always able to see the dark side of any situation, but ultimately optimistic. He's been a friend of the gallery for years now, and we're delighted to see his career taking off. His second exhibition at Feigen is currently up and runs through February 4th, with a video program this Thursday (January 26th, Reception: 6:00-7:00 p.m. Video Program: 7:00-8:00 p.m.).
And if his drawings are like popcorn, David's videos are the whiskey you wash it down with. In the 2004 installation, he created an "old man's bar" (see below) from which you could watch his parody of the film classic “The Fountainhead”, a case of mistaken identity that leads to David's being noticed by a big Chelsea gallery. With hilarious cameos by a host of Brooklyn and New York artists, "Million Dollar Moment" is one of the most brtually funny explorations of how unfair and irrational the art world can seem at times.
David Kramer, Installation View at Feigen Contemporary, May 20 - June 26, 2004 (Image from Feigen Contemporary website)
In his current exhibition, David is introducing a new body of paintings. I had the pleasure of getting a preview in his studio about 6 months ago. With a similar approach to the one he uses for his drawings, these oil on canvas pieces combine commercially imagined happiness with paradoxical text, but by leaving out the detailed prose and thereby highlighting the imagery, he's sharpening the tension between the two.
David Kramer, Untitled (immediate satisfaction), 2005, Oil on canvas, 46" x 44" (Image from Feigen Contemporary website)
For me, David's at his best when he's dealing with a topic that serves to offer both a witty observation about life and an art-dialog-specific dig, like in this piece:
David Kramer, Untitled (irony and coincidence), 2005, Ink on paper, 15" x 22" (Image from Feigen Contemporary website)
Or just musing on the life he's chosen, all the while wallowing in the poignancy and pathose we love him for:
David Kramer, Untitled (teach a fish...), 2005, Ink on paper, 17" x 20" (Image from Feigen Contemporary website)