I Wanted to Be an Artist but All I Got Was This Lousy Career
Greenwich September 12th to March 3rd, 2013
Nate Lowman: I Wanted to be an Artist but all I got was this Lousy Career on view at The Brant Foundation from November 12, 2012 – March 3, 2013.
The Brant Foundation is pleased to announce I Wanted to be an Artist but all I got was this Lousy Career, an exhibition of works by Nate Lowman. The exhibition will feature recent and new work including paintings, collage and sculpture and continues through March 2013.
Dusted with mythological fear, loathing, and spiritual desertification, Nate Lowman’s work cuts up and reassembles the movies, the street, history, and the news. From a bank teller window shot through with bullets, to black crucifixes modeled on New York City tow truck equipment, to blonde, spectral Marilyn, scarred and bloodied by de Kooning’s violent brushstrokes, Lowman gravitates toward crimes, absurdities, slip-ups, tragedies, travesties, laughing stocks, write-offs, and disasters. “People treat images the same way that they treat vacation,” he says. “I’m trying not to be a tourist all the time – or at least not concerning the interpretation of information.”
Functioning like “membranes” – as Sherrie Levine once described her own works made from appropriated images – “permeable from both sides so there is an easy flow between the past and the future, between my history and yours,”* Lowman’s work weaves public history with personal memory, with the result that we feel a strange familiarity in looking over his bikini postcards, magazine clippings, bumper stickers, bullethole decals, car air freshener trees, and smiley faces, as if being reminded of something we already know.
Spread in alkyd dots across a canvas, torn from a tabloid, found on the sidewalk, pasted to the fridge, buried in a shoebox: in Lowman’s artistic system, available images and the messages they contain are reprogrammed as expressive tools and keyed into art history. His technique involves themes and indexes – chairs, people pointing at or holding things, swiss cheese – he has a taste for the derelict – battered and broken doors from the refuse heap, flattened aluminum cans, chewing gum, rusted gas pumps like those at abandoned gas stations, passed at high speed on obsolescent highways – and he mingles these souvenirs of the recently bygone with signs that the end is near – ripe crops covered in snow, x-rayed truckfuls of human traffic, flooded suburbs, a smiling ice cream cone announcing I’ll Be Dead Soon.
In the room-size installation Four Seasons (2009-2012) – the baroque theme also visited by Cy Twombly, Richard Prince, and Gerhard Richter – each season takes on the qualities of a verb rather than a noun. Wintering, Springing, Summering, and Falling: Jamie Foxx wields his image-damaging Swastika boogie board in Hawaii; snow falls at Ski Dubai, the winter resort built into a shopping mall in the United Arab Emirates; a man drops from the WTC’s crumbling North tower; Tonya Harding stumbles on the Olympic ice; Jenna Bush wipes out drunk on the pages of the National Enquirer; workers in Cancun picket for fair wages, throwing a wrench in spring break.
With guilt, innocence, and meanings always in flux, Lowman prefers to focus on the language of images themselves, and how to treat them like the living things they are. The parade of criminals and victims circulated in the Associated Press photos – OJ Simpson, John Walker Lindh, Oliver North, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Brown Simpson, Amadou Diallo – are inevitably shifting, and to watch them rise and fall, like tracking a storm, or watching paint dry, is to hope for the end to come so that you can be here to see it.
Also on view in The Brant Foundation Art Study Center library will be a selection of chairs and artworks from Mr. Brant and Lowman’s personal collections. Featuring artists Andrew Kuo, Josh Smith, Dash Snow, Leo Fitzpatrick, Joe Bradley, Paul McCarthy, Ray Johnson, Lizzi Bougatsos, Dan Colen and Hanna Liden among others.
More on Nate Lowman:
Nate Lowman was born in Las Vegas in 1979.
Lowman lives and works in New York City, NY.
Since his first solo show “THE END. And Other American Pastimes” at Maccarone, New York, in 2005, he has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and Palazzo Grassi, Venice. He has had four institutional one-person shows – “Axis of Praxis” (2006, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN), “The Natriot Act” (2009, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo), “I Wanted To Be An Artist But All I Got Was This Lousy Career” (2012, Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT), and “America Sneezes” (2015, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX) – and continues to exhibit frequently in the US and abroad.
“54 Franklin / 114 Westville,” with Don Fleming, The National Exemplar, New York / “Nate Lowman,” Maccarone, Los Angeles / “World of Interiors,” FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims / “Downtown Is A Construct,” Massimo de Carlo, London
“America Sneezes,” Dallas Contemporary, Dallas“Stock-Props,” with Keith Sonnier, The National Exemplar, NYC
“Weeping Atlas Cedar,” Massimo de Carlo, London“Rave The Painforest,” Maccarone, NYC
“Art Relax”, in collaboration with Leo Fitzpatrick, Karma, Amagansett, NY
“Cats and Dogs”, with Hanna Liden, Carlson Gallery, London“Swiss Cheese and The Doors”, Massimo de Carlo, Milan“The Triumph Arch”, with Hanna Liden, 5 Rue de Tilsitt, Paris“I Wanted To Be An Artist But All I Got Was This Lousy Career”, Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT
“Bed Bugs” with Rob Pruitt, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, NYC“Trash Landing”, Maccarone/Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, NYC“Love Roses”, works in collaboration with Dan Colen, The National Exemplar, NYC“Three Amigos: Gift Ghost GAP”, The American Academy, Rome (“Three Amigos”, with Dan Colen at Palazzo Rospiglisi and Dash Snow at MACRO Rome)“30 Million Dollar Smile” mural, Triple A, Los Angeles
“Fill You With Holes”, Carlson Gallery, London“Come As You Are Again” with Hanna Liden, Salon 94, NYC“Karla Black and Nate Lowman”, Andrea Rosen Gallery, NYC
“The Natriot Act”, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo“Nate Lowman”, The Hydra Workshop, Hydra, Greece“A Dog From Every County”, Maccarone, NYC
“Wet Pain”, in collaboration with Dan Colen, Maccarone, NYC“Wet Pain”, in collaboration with Dan Colen, A Palazzo, Brescia, Italy
“Axis of Praxis”, Midway Contemporary Art Center, Minneapolis
“THE END. And Other American Pastimes.” Maccarone, NYC
“These Days; Leaves of Grass,” curated by Michael St. John, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
“Fields of War,” Massimo de Carlo, London, UK
“Outside,” curated by Matthew Higgs, Karma, Amagansett, NY
“Mount Analog,” curated by Neville Wakefield, Aspen, CO
“Fresh Cuts,” curated by Agathe Snow, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY
“Shrines to Speed,” Leila Heller Gallery, New York
“The Now Forever,” Basilica Hudson, Hudson
“Marlborough Lights,” Marlborough Broome Street, New York
“Sprayed,” Gagosian Britannia Street, London
“Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
“#RAWHIDE,” Venus Over Manhattan, New York
“Love for Three Oranges,” Karma at Gladstone Gallery, Brussels
“Second Chances,” Aspen Art Museum, Aspen
“Empire of Light”, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
“Three Blind Mice”, with Dan Colen and Rob Pruitt, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium
“12e Biennale de Lyon”, La Sucriere, Lyon, France
“The White Album”, Louis B. James Gallery, NYC
“Passive Aggressive”, Massimo de Carlo, Milan
“Painting in Place”, Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Farmers & Merchants Bank, Los Angeles
“Empire State: New York Art Now”, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome and Thaddeus Ropac, Paris
“DSM-V”, curated by David Rimanelli, Vito Schnabel, The Future Moynihan Station, NYC
“Pizza Time”, Marlborough Gallery, NYC
“The Show Is Over”, Gagosian Gallery, London
“Double Hamburger Deluxe”, Marlborough Chelsea, NYC
“Alone Together”, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
“To Be With Art Is All We Ask”, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo
“We The People”, curated by Alison Gingeras and Jonathan Horowitz, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Project Space, NYC
“Holy Crap!”, curated by Michele Maccarone, The Fireplace Project, Springs, NY
“Do Your Thing”, curated by Rub N Tug, White Columns, NYC
“(O)IKEA”, Hydra Schools Project, Hydra, Greece
“Are You Glad to be in America?”, Massimo de Carlo, Milan
“New York Minute”, curated by Kathy Grayson, Garage Center, Moscow
“Post 9-11”, OHWOW, Los Angeles
“Ray’s A Laugh”, Half Gallery, NYC
“New Age End of the World”, Taxter & Spengemann, NYC
“George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown)”, MOCA, Los Angeles
“The Luminous Interval: The D. Daskalopoulos Collection”, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
“In the Name of the Artists – American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnley Collection”, Bienal Pavilion, Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil
“Karma”, White Flag Projects, St. Louis, Missouri
“The Last Newspaper”, The New Museum, NYC
“RE-DRESSING”, Bortolami Gallery, NYC
“FRESH HELL”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris
“Off the Wall Part 1: Thirty Performative Actions”, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
“A.D.D. Attention Deficit Disorder”, Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary di Trevi, Italy
“Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance”, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC
“Beg, Borrow, Steal”, Rubell Family Collection, Miami
“Besides, With, Against and Yet: Abstraction and the Ready-Made Gesture”, The Kitchen, NYC
“New York Minute”, curated by Kathy Grayson, MACRO, Rome
“When the Mood Strikes: The Cooreman Collection”, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium
“Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection”, curated by Alison Gingeras and Francesco Bonami, Palazzo Grassi, Venice
“Wall & Floor”, Galerie Almine Rech, Paris
“Expenditure”, Busan Biennale, Korea
“The Unforgiven” Stellan Holm Gallery, NYC
“Nate Lowman / Agathe Snow / Aaron Young”, United Artists LTD, Marfa, Texas
“Meet Me Around the Corner – Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection” Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo
“Unmonumental”, The New Museum, NYC
“Murder Letters”, Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon, Portugal
“Pop Art Is…”, Gagosian Gallery, London
“Beyond the Zero”, Peres Projects, Athens
“Sweet Bird of Youth”, Arndt + Partner Berlin, curated by Hedi Slimane
“Last Attraction Next Exit”, Max Wigram Gallery, London, curated by Neville Wakefield
“Memorial to the Iraq War”, ICA London
Art Basel Miami, Art Nova, Miami Beach
“Defamation of Character”, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, curated by Neville Wakefield
“When the Revolution Comes”, Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, NYC
The Wrong Gallery in collaboration with the 2006 Whitney Biennial. “Down by Law,” NYC
“Mangoes”, Peres Projects, Los Angeles
“Slow Burn,” curated by Jonah Freeman Galerie Edward Mitterand, Geneva
“Uncertain States of America” Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo
“Greater New York” PS1 Contemporary Art Center, NYC
“Interstate” Nicole Klagsbrun, NYC
“Bridge Freezes Before Road” Barbara Gladstone Gallery, NYC, curated by Neville Wakefield
Champion Fine Art, Los Angeles
“The Mythological Machine” Curated by Francesco Manacorda, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry UK
“I Love Music” Curated by Matthew Higgs, Creative Growth, Oakland, CA
“Happy Days Are Here Again” Curated by Andre Schlechtriem, David Zwirner, NYC
“Power Corruption and Lies” Curated by Adam McEwan and Neville Wakefield, Roth Horowitz, NYC
“Drunk vs. Stoned” Gavin Brown’s Enterprise @ Passerby, NYC
“Let the Bullshit Run A Marathon” Curated by Nate Lowman, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, NYC
“Foreplay” Ritter/Zamet, London
“Airtight Plan For Killing” Buia Gallery, NYC
“A Matter of Facts” Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, NYC Curated by Clarissa Dalrymple
Apexart Summer Program, NY. Curated by Katy Siegel, Mitchell Algus, Michele Maccarone.
Grant Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles Curated by Clarissa Dalrymple.
Marcus Ritter Gallery, NYC Curated by Rupert Goldsworthy
“The Kids Are Alright” ATM Gallery, NYC Curated by Joe Bradley
“Circumnavigating a Sea of Shit” Cynthia Broan Gallery, NY
“Extacy Falls” G-Module, Paris. Curated by Erik Bakke
“Power Ballads” Rupert Goldsworthy Gallery, NYC
In a couple of the email messages that Lowman and I have exchanged over the past year, he’s mentioned wanting to make an anti-amnesia machine. This whole show is an anti-amnesia machine. It serves as a public-private, private-public account of what it means to try to forget, and to try not to forget, to watch as things fade away and return, represented in some tattered or corrupted form. A machine, yes, but it’s more like a jalopy, a deliberately rickety thing, always about to break down, but never doing so, a machine where nothing quite fits, but everything works.
That’s why so many of these works are subtractive, are readymades in reverse, objects shaved away, or bent into shape to become art: Take a tow truck and subtract the cab, the tires, the bodywork, until all that’s left is the chassis. Take a photograph and erase the details, desaturate it, remove the background. Take a gas station pump and pull off everything but the front cover. Let an image dissolve so far into its constituent marks that it starts to feel like one of those dreams you have that you barely remember upon waking, and remember less and less as the day goes on, except that unlike dreams, these paintings always leave something behind, like a picture in a foreign language, wavering in and out of comprehension. Nothing is re-moved that doesn’t reveal something else underneath, even if it’s just print-ing dots or Xerox noise, or the image on the reverse side of a thin sheet of newsprint, the elements you find under the things you read, like a crude underpainting or an archeological dig. Indeed, quite a few of them have holes in them, and it can seem, sometimes, as if all these byproducts -- the erasures, the visible seams, the blotches, the holes – aren’t byproducts at all: they are the work, because the project is as much to show what lies beneath or behind the pictures, the muttering gossip behind the stories, as much as it’s to show the news itself; or perhaps it’s to show the interplay between the two, in the same way our memories are made up of things we recollect clearly, things we vaguely recall, and things we don’t remember at all. -Jim Lewis
Spread in alkyd dots across a canvas, torn from a tabloid, found on the sidewalk, pasted to the fridge, buried in a shoebox: in Lowman’s artistic system, available images and the messages they contain are reprogrammed as expressive tools and keyed into art history. His technique involves themes and indexes – chairs, people pointing at or holding things, swiss cheese - he has a taste for the derelict – battered and broken doors from the refuse heap, flattened aluminum cans, chewing gum, rusted gas pumps like those at abandoned gas stations, passed at high speed on obsolescent highways - and he mingles these souvenirs of the recently bygone with signs that the end is near - ripe crops covered in snow, x-rayed truckfuls of human traffic, flooded suburbs, a smiling ice cream cone announcing I’ll Be Dead Soon.
For me the drop cloths were a way to inhabit a conversation about the history of mark making, and they're happening automatically and they're done by chance.
– Nate Lowman