Go See – Los Angeles: Aaron Young at Gagosian Beverly Hills through February 27, 2010

February 10th, 2010

Aaron Young, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, 2009. [Gagosian Gallery]

Aaron Young, the so-called “Hellraiser” (Christopher Mooney, ArtReview), shakes-up the Beverley Hills neighborhood with his uniquely American brand of biker-nihilism. With a proliferation of riotous and destructive objects, including life-size wrecking balls and battered iron barricades, casually littering the gallery floor one would initially interpret this exhibit as a punks advert for hard living. Yet the sadist exterior gives way to a masochistic interior: the wrecking ball is made of glass, bound for self-destruction if it ever fulfilled its function; similarly the razor-wire sculptures have a soft core, made from delicate Murano glass, and turned on its side to become sculptural; the barricades are made of plated gold not iron, they are precious rather ruined

Goner, 2009. [Gagosian Gallery]

More text, images and related links after the jump….

Insiders Say, 2009. [Gagosian Gallery]

The Right Way To Do Wrong, installation view. [Gagosian Gallery]

Large glass panels baring lewd or taunting phrases stenciled in black rubber spray are propped against the gallery walls as if preserved fragments of graffiti-daubed urban walls. Out of context they become, if not historical, at least cultural, artifacts. In their highly contrived nature these objects act as a museum exhibit of a gritty neighborhood no longer in existence or a theme-park-style view of life in such a place. Young’s reference of bad-ass biker or delinquent youth culture is very shrewd. He is not purposefully affiliating himself with it in order to inflate his street-cred but, in fact, demonstrates his rapt fascination with it. In an interview for ArtReview Young explained: “Its just something that is so American, something I’m so obsessed with. It doesn’t necessarily have to be biker. It just has to be that same kind of aggression, that same kind of live-by-your-own-terms sensibility.”

Res Ipsa Loquitur, 2010. [Gagosian Gallery]

The Right Way To Do Wrong, installation view. [Gagosian Gallery]

The Right Way To Do Wrong, installation view. [Gagosian Gallery]

The comprehensive visual language is exaggeratedly masculine in its energy. Yet in actuality it is fragility performing machismo. Ostensibly, Young has imbued his work with a spoonful of serenity compared to the fantastic noise and explosions witnessed at the Seventh Regiment Armory, 2007, where ten bikers performs burnouts in an arena of especially painted boards. Young has said of his own behaviour: “I’ve definitely calmed down,” yet added that boy rebellion culture is “something that’s kind of bred in you, that you almost have to live up to” (Christopher Mooney, ArtReview). At the very least this show lives up to Young’s usual punch and artistic merit.

The Right Way To Do Wrong, installation view. [Gagosian Gallery]


Aaron Young – The Right Way to do Wrong
[Gagosian Gallery]
‘Introducing Aaron Young’ at Galerie Almin Rech, Paris [Art Observed]