Text: Alec Coiro
All Images Courtesy of the Gallery
As with our last visit to the Hole, the subject is sculpture. And like all properly modern and curious artists, Adam Parker Smith plays with the notion and boundaries of what sculpture is in “Kidnapping Incites Years of Murderous Doom.” His sculptures often take the form of an assemblage of mylar balloons, obviously a very different form of sculpture than the those that have traditionally represented Smith’s subject matter.
As with Smith’s previous show at the hole, “Oblivious The Greek,” his subject matter plays on the classical origins of western sculpture. Here, as the title suggests, the reference is more explicit and specific, recalling that “1,000 ship launching” kidnappings from the Iliad.
By choosing this saga, the artist is able to engage with thousands of years of western tradition at once. The mylar urns saucily tagged with bar codes, recall Keats as much as they do Homer. But in place of Keats’s lovers, we have colorful pop art with enough camp spookiness for halloween.
It’s also difficult to think about things Trojan in the new millennium without first thinking about Brad Pitt. If Pitt represent the hollywood’s modernist rendition of the Iliad, Smith aims to supplant it with something post-modern. Thus grumpy cats are in the mix, as is a very Simpsons-y donut.
But when you visit, don’t limit yourself to thinking about the literary and art-historical references. Also consider the way the show engages with sculpture in general, and the dimensionality of sculpture in specific. Because Smith’s work gives such a convincing appearance (despite being coated with resin) of becoming three dimensional by being filled with air, there is the constant reminder and even threat of a return (with a slow fizzle or loud pop) to two dimensions. Unlike sculpture of old that will chip, Smith suggests that his will crumple. This combination of ancient subject matter with an impermanent form is what Smith adds to the conversation if you want to compare his work to something like a Jeff Koons balloon.
Like the best shows, “Kidnapping Incites Years of Murderous Doom” is fully formed and entertaining. Smith is an artist who has developed his vernacular into its own language. And the full aura of the mylar won’t come across in the pictures below. There’s a certain birthday party feeling the show gives you, that you can only experience if you go see it at the Hole.