Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yunnies on Canvas

I picked up a copy of Adbusters and came upon the work of artist Terry Rodgers, large-scale paintings of affluent youth, posing at parties in states of calculated undress, scenes that could equally come from a clothing catalog or a mainstream porn mag. It could be any night in the condos of Manhattan, after champagne bacchanal brunches in MePa, and in the luxury hotels that dominate the low-rises of the Lower East Side.

Are they critiques or celebrations? You decide.

from Standing Watch (click to see large, all may be NSFW)

"In this world of wealth, the survival of which depends on its subjects' obedient consumption, individuals are reduced to harboring superficial human relations. Fallen prey to desires that neither bodies nor available luxury seem to satisfy, each of the beings that crowd Terry's paintings is self-centered--the body on display and the gaze introverted. They all seem to have crafted their appearance so as to render it as sleek, chic, and delectable as possible. From their being only a marketable image remains, the one which will give them their life credentials in what Guy Debord has named the Society of the Spectacle.

Terry Rodgers gives us a taste of these ritual gatherings--festivals sans festivity--where participants seem to have abandoned life as a meaningful experience, and replaced it with a material enterprise. Petrified by the power of their own stare, they have become the lifeless idols of an era driven by consumption."
--Catherine Somze

from Stealing Scenes

"Rodgers’s characters seem primed for an orgy, if they could only notice one another."
--Cathy Byrd

from Palace of Automorphic Delights

"My hope is that ultimately these paintings show fragile, genuine human beings trying to make something of what they are confronted with. Each of them is unique in their individuality—in their hair, their eyes, their lips, their hands—and they are all separately struggling and often finding merely surface solutions and ephemeral escapes to the timeless riddles of consciousness."
--Terry Rodgers, artist's statement


ShatteredMonocle said...

Wow. These are incredible.

KnicksBasketballNY said...

Why does Manhattan (home of my Knicks) have to be ground zero for all of this bullshit?

What cant the yunnies just celebrate themselves and their consumption back in the towns that they are from?

What cant they just love themselves back in the cities that they came from?


Seth Gordon said...

I'm not entirely sure Terry Rodgers has ever been to one of the clubs he's satirizing(?) - while these images are what the owners would like us to think is inside, and what Gossip Girl and NYC Prep promote as what's happening in the big city clubs - women who all look like porn stars, men who all look like... well, gay porn stars - but they're not even close to accurate. Even if you put clothes on everybody.

Anyone who's actually been inside Thor, Above Allen, Chloe 81, 675, etc - whatever the flavor of the week is this week - knows that what awaits them is little more than Jersey boys emulating the cast of Entourage, practicing the moves they learned from The Pick-Up Artist, their unfortunate dates for those lucky enough to have them, and perhaps a few random beautiful women - allowed to cut to the front of the line by the discriminating bouncers, to add value to those paying for the privilige of being inside and paying yet more for overpriced drinks.

What we really have are not so much narcissists but wannabe-narcissists. They don't look at/into themselves - they constantly gaze outward to see if anyone is looking at them, desperate for approval. They want others to see them in the context of wealth, beauty, and privilege, as if being around it bestows it upon them, even for just one night. To spend every penny of their paycheck on a weekend of self-congratulatory circle-jerks and Christian Audiger t-shirts, felling like they're hobnobbing among the elite. Only the only people they're actually among are themselves.

But hey, I can't hold it against the owners of such establishments - if there's a market, might as well exploit it.

pwlsax said...

Looks like he wants to be the [url=]Tamara de Lempicka[/url] of the 2000s, only with more pseudo-realism and less elegance. Appropriately enough for the times.