In his latest exhibition, All or Nothing, artist Ryan Humphrey is kind of like the infamous biker boy Jesse James of the contemporary art world, except his creations don’t zoom off and take flight—well, not literally anyway. Muscling in elements of 1970s car culture, a blend of low-brow materials inspired by his blue-collar upbringing, and classic rock and heavy metal (one piece is titled Back in Black), Humphrey’s art aims to embody the “live fast, die young” spirit. In Burst Into Light, one of three mixed-media works, he resurrects the original hood designs of the Pontiac Trans Am, focusing on the symbolic fire-breathing phoenix and surrounding it with NASCAR paraphernalia, fabrics, and beer-bottle caps, among other varied objects. He also has a penchant for designer appliances and the quirky ways we, as consumers, personalize them. Check out his refrigerator, which holds condiments and beer and dons rockin’ knick-knacks (like a bottle opener made from a stripper’s high heel). It’s honky-tonk America, damn straight!
Sept. 24-Nov. 1, 2008
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 10, 2008