“If I had any balls,” Christopher Chiappa tells us, “I would have been a comedian.” He’s giving himself short shrift: in works like “Volvo Exhaust” (2006), for which the artist skitched a ride behind a Volvo by lying on a longboard and holding onto the car’s exhaust pipe with his mouth, Chiappa has shown he has both balls and comedy in spades.
That humor won Chiappa quick success in the late 90s, when his very first appearance at Jessica Fredericks Gallery was noticed by both Ken Johnson, the esteemed New York Times critic, and Jerry Saltz, the ubiquitous populist then at Time Out. What attracted such buzz was Chiappa’s ability to fit meaningful artistic aims inside the format of a one-liner. “Humor, for me, is like a Trojan horse,” he told us. “It enables you to sneak difficult and often disturbing ideas into peoples’ heads when their defenses are down.”
After lying low for much of the 2000s, Chiappa may be poised for another breakout. His recent solo show at Kate Werble, his new gallery, brought all-new work that boasted the same humor and attention to materials, and at Stadium Gallery’s excellent inaugural show, Performance Anxiety, his perfect arch made of Speed Stick stood out amidst a strong field. As with much of Chiappa’s art, the Speed Stick arch most immediately elicits an “I see what you did there,” but resists such a cavalier response with flat-out formal beauty. Chiappa knows it: “I like when a magician shows you that he’s doing a trick, but he still gets you anyway,” he says. “That’s what I like about art.” [Q and A and slideshow, after the jump.]
Poor Jebus, never allowed to have any fun.
Apr 22, 2011
At this point I'll do just about anything to toodle around on google image search for a few hours.
Apr 13, 2011