Theo A. Rosenblum and Chelsea Seltzer
Culture Shak

"Ceremonial Mask, Sweet Lips", 2016, wood, resin clay, acrylic paint, 18 x 16 x 6 inches, 45.7 x 40.6 x 15.2 cm

Theo A. Rosenblum and Chelsea Seltzer

Culture Shak

January 5th – February 5th, 2017

OPENING: Thursday, January 5th, 2017 from 6-9pm

The Hole is proud to announce the second solo show at the gallery for Theo A. Rosenblum and Chelsea Seltzer’s collaborative works. With handmade sculpture on the floor and walls and adulterated found object paintings, the duo returns with more culture-gone-crazy relics of a near future.

The largest sculpture, M&M Odoodem, Like Totally Totem Polarized, introduces a Google-search visual language that informs their work; a gingerbread house-styled totem pole. Carving the licorice, Mike ’N’ Ikes, gum drops and Snow Caps in a type of self-hardening clay then painting the sculpture, the artists simulate gingerbread and icing architecture festooned with colorful candy. Along the walls gingerbread-styled masks continue this “pantheon” of sorts jumping stylistically around the globe of ancient art and craft with a “because LOL nothing matters” vibe.

Cultural appropriation is further examined in adulterated busts proliferating on pedestals, where sculpted elements have been added to remix the history depicted–a bust of Einstein reimagined through the “breading” meme–and a replica on the Venus of Willendorf relic meticulously re-sculptued and painted into a zaftig Gremlin.

Also included in the show are a collection of commemorative plates the artists have “improved upon” with paint. From saccharine nostalgia scenes and puppies to “whited out” images of Native Americans, the plates themselves offer a very unsettling glimpse into our cultural imagination. The artists pull out and make visible those unnerving elements by painting disturbances into the works: panties appear in a Norman Rockwell plate, Aliens land in the Wild West; a Prada bag on the arm of a Cherokee warrior; tits on a unicorn.

What is all this remixing about? A large sculpture of a skinny stylized alien holding out his enormous jeans à la Jared in a Subway ad crystallizes the self reflexive ridiculousness of the works. Humans love to lose weight and hold up their fat clothes in advertisements to lose weight; an alien must find that insane. Another of the largest sculptures, Charred ’n Charged, enhances this perspective; it depicts a fossilized human skeleton on a sorta funereal mound full of human garbage from coke cans and charger cords. The skeleton appears to be wearing Crocs and clutches an iPad, an inglorious record of our time on earth. Like all elements in the show we are forced to question, “is this what we look like?” and in most cases the embarrassing answer is yes.

The works are installed like a Natural History Museum display of “2016”, providing a re-contextualization of culturally significant (or insignificant) objects and ideas: a bit of a Post Modern post mortem. In the words of the artists: “What does it mean when one culture appropriates another? How do different groups undermine the sacrosanct or profane cultural artifacts and ideas of another group for their own ends? Would an ancient Egyptian craftsman feel angered that his work has been taken out of the tomb or would he be thrilled that millions marvel at it thousands of years later? How do these threads weave through time to become a knot, and then unravel only to be woven back in?”

For the artists, the synthesis of this show was imagining space and time scrambled together, and seeing what would remain when the dust settled. Rosenblum and Seltzer envisioned a cosmic time traveller making sense (or nonsense) of all of the absurdities in our world. Here in the present it seems as if the world is more complexly layered than ever, with history repeating itself in different guises, as if we are given at the same time endless possibilities but no actual options.

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