Video Art and Pop Culture at Darger HQ
June 8th, 2017
Photo courtesy of Darger HQ
Omaha, NE—Darger HQ Gallery brings local and national artists together to share a single collaborative space. In the past, the gallery has shown paintings, sculpture, photography, and mixed media. This Friday, June 9, will be the opening of Together Forever, a collection of videos by local artist Peter Fankhauser and New York based artist Jaimie Warren.
“With the emergence of video technologies in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I think artists really started to reconsider space specifically, but also it was a reaction to an increasingly commercialized art world,” Fankhauser said. “So video was this way, much like performance, to decommodify the art object, so you’re not hanging a painting on the wall, you’re not installing a sculpture, you’re not providing this sort of thing that someone can come in, buy and take away.”
“I think with video and performance, the two primary mediums that both Jamie and I are working in, that sort of idea becomes a little more diffuse, and it’s harder to put a price on something like a performance or a video. So in that sense, when we’re talking about showing this type of work in a gallery space, it really frees you up a little bit in a way because the impetus to sell isn’t as strong.”
Both artists consider figures in pop culture from an analytical point of view, but also a place of personal affinity.
The subjects of Warren’s work are childhood heroes—Freddy Mercury, George Michael, and Michael Jackson, for example—and her videos reimagine and recontextualize their lives.
“There’s a lot of crossover in all the different characters that have greatly affected me throughout my life, usually starting from childhood,” Warren said. “And characters that I’m still thinking about and inspired by or obsessed with, and just sort of having all these characters interact in various odd ways and then sort of recreating the narrative that are in these chaining from our history and putting this somewhat contemporary spin on it. But usually it’s more of like a spin than have to do with my own sort of childhood and mixed with a weird way that my brain works. Then there are also usually these collaborations with these communities and then and those communities are welcome to contribute their ideas or add additional characters.”
Fankhauser’s work, “Justice of Decline,” is an alternative reading of Oswald Spengler’s book, The Decline of The West or The Downfall of the Occident enlivened by late Playboy Bunny and reality TV star, Ana Nicole Smith.
“The thing that really attracted me most to this text was the way he looks at history particularly the history of civilizations as being cyclical as opposed to linear,” Fankhauser said. “So every civilization has this kind of life cycle that starts with creating culture. Culture is the generative stage that continues and continues to breed a civilization, and once a civilization is established, in Spangler’s estimation, that’s when culture sort of dies and there are no more new ideas.”
And how Smith embodies that idea?
“Yeah I think she does for sure,” Fankhauser said. “I think her life in particular was sort of emblematic of this idea that you can follow these—I mean she was almost like a walking stereotype. She embodied a lot of different tropes of femininity, a lot of different tropes associated with commerce and the economy and for those reasons especially, she was like a big point of interest.”
Together Forever will open at Darger HQ this Friday, June 9 at 6pm and show until August 27. There will be an artist talk moderated by Risa Puleo at 8pm, and the artists have hinted at a uniquely performative aspect to it. For more information, visit DargerHQ.org.
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