Revival is a project conceived to investigate, emulate, and add to the legacies of three of the most influential artists of the 20th century: Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp. Conceptually this is one project, not an exhibition of several paintings and a video. I consider Revival to be a performance piece, an homage to the forefathers of contemporary art practice. The particular focus is on Jackson Pollock, the progenitor of Action Painting, which opened the door for the recognition of performance art as a viable genre.

The installation of the show is meant to invoke the salon style exhibition of the 17th and 18th centuries, but is also inspired by a show produced by the Independent Group in London in the early 1950’s. In the Parallel Between Art and Life, the Independent Group sought to eliminate any hierarchy of images – any difference between ‘high art’ and ‘low art’-, and presented an exhibition/happening that embodied all parts of the exhibition space, floor to ceiling. In this exhibition they featured works by known artists, children’s drawings, advertisements, photocopies, imitations of all kinds of images. The result was that visually ad advertisement from Sears had no more currency than a work by Picasso. I hope to create the same homogenizing effect with the Revival installation.

POLLOCK Like Pollock’s paintings, all of the glitter paintings are made on the floor. So, in the process of their completion and subsequent mounting on the wall, there is a shift from existence on a horizontal plane (nature) to a vertical plane (culture). In direct contradiction to Pollock’s process, all of my glitter paintings require meticulous and precise application of the medium. As a performance artist, I am interested in invoking Pollock’s legacy with this project, as his action paintings were arguably the most visible predecessor to the evolution of performance art as a genre in the 50’s and 60’s. I have recreated Namuth’s famous film of Pollock in the hopes of somehow inhabiting the grandiose history that his mythical presence has created. I have replaced the figure of Pollock with myself, and the narration has been adjusted to account for my own biography and practice, thereby aligning myself – half sarcastically and half sincerely – with the masculine, mythical, heroic legacy of Pollock.

WARHOL This project has also been inspired by Warhol’s ideas of the factory and mass reproduction of art and of images, as well as his obsession with surface. Warhol was unfailingly devoted to the idea of celebrity and superstardom, fetishizing the literal surface(skin and appearance) of the stars that he so passionately admired. These glitter paintings are meant to reintroduce and resuscitate the notions of celebrity, surface, and image.

DUCHAMP It was Marcel Duchamp who pioneered the idea of the ‘readymade’, the object in the world that exists in waiting for an artist to label it ‘art’. Like Warhol, I have taken as my readymades images from art history and pop culture. In this installation, the readymades are present in Pollock’s actions and technique, in the salon-style of the installation, and in the craft medium of glitter, and in the images themselves. Duchamp, like other artists in the 40’s and 50’s was cynically opposed to the ideas being put forth by the abstract expressionists in New York (and expressed these views by producing an action painting of his own: ejaculation on velvet). This project seeks to position itself directly in between those who embrace(d) and those who reject(ed) the monumental position occupied by the abstract expressionists, minimalists, and pop artists of the 20th century.

All Images © Micol Hebron, 2016