November 22 – January 10, 2009
JENNIFER and KEVIN McCOY
"I'll Replace You"
Postmasters Gallery is pleased to announce "I'll Replace You" – an exhibition of a new works by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy.
The show will open on November 22 and will be on view until January 10, 2009 (the gallery will be open by appointment from December 24 to December 31). This will be the McCoys' fourth solo show with Postmasters.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy's multimedia works examine the genres and conventions of filmmaking. They are well known for constructing subjective databases of existing material and making fragmentary miniature film sets with lights, video cameras, and moving sculptural elements to create live cinematic events. Recently they have begun to include autobiographical references in their projects.
The analytical and the personal approach comes to extreme entanglement in "I'll Replace You."
For this project the McCoys put out a casting call and subsequently hired fifty actors to replace them in executing the many responsibilities they undertake every day. The resulting 15 minutes long video zeroes in on the actor, the idea of typecasting, and the fragmentation of life. Dispensing with Hollywood cornerstone of continuity for each of the "roles" the McCoys play in life (artist, professor, parent, friend, spouse), they cast five different actors. They staged scenes in and around their real lives. Often hilariously miscast and self-stereotyped, the actors play Jennifer and Kevin, interacting with their real children, students, and colleagues in improvised scenes set in their house, studio, and universities. In the editing, the film intercuts the different actors’ interpretations of the McCoys’ lives.
The story unfolds as a kind of "day in the life". It begins in the morning with the family waking up, having breakfast, and leaving the house. The day then splinters into fragments, including more events than would ever be possible in real time. Coffee with friends, work in the studio, critiques with students, talking with curators, playtime with kids, dinner out, and after dinner drinks are all edited together into one impossible day. The faces change but the story continues, in a roundabout way, to progress as the day goes on. The video underlines the complexity of contemporary life, made up as it is by millions of tiny gestures.
Expanding on the idea of substitution are other works in the show including a set of two large scale photographs. "Jennifer and Ken McCoy/Jessica and Kevin McCoy" are post performative photographs in which one of the artists is paired with a rotating array of passer-bys, friends, and colleagues dressed as the significant other. Here the genre of "couple" is explored through a deadpan mosaic of costumed participants. In these works, the enframing of two people reveals the ease with which someone is replaced and the instant plausibility of that replacement.
In Postmasters' second gallery McCoys present "Artists Talks" – a related project in which actors unfamiliar with the work and language of contemporary art are asked to spontaneously present the works of well known artists as their own. The improvised talks are set up as a video database where viewers can choose from the eighteen three-minute long discs. While dexterous in their presentational abilities, the actors deliver information that is suspect, relying on popular pre- and mis-conceptions of art and face value descriptors of the images presented. Although the tone of the performances ranges from comic to sincere to insightful, this work reveals the ‘artists talk’ to be a convention bound genre, but also illuminates the relativity and occasional pretension of accepted canon. The actors’ struggle reminds us of the limitation of any attempt to explain visual art with language.
Like this press release perhaps……..
The McCoys’ work have been widely exhibited in the US and internationally - their most recent shows include Museum of Modern Art in New York, BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank in London, Hannover Kunstverein, The Beall Center in Irvine, CA, pkm Gallery in Beijing, The San Jose Museum of Art, The Nevada Museum of Art, and Artists Space in New York.
Postmasters Gallery, located in Chelsea 459 West 19th Street (corner of 10th Avenue), is open Tuesday through Saturday to 11 - 6 pm. Please contact Magdalena Sawon at 212-727-3323 with any questions or image requests.