A Clusterf*ck of Memes and Mascots Meet in a Zany Exhibition about Appropriation

Gingerbread totem poles and peace pipe smoking aliens fill the walls of Chelsea Seltzer and Theo A. Rosenblum's collaborative exhibition.

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Feb 3 2017, 2:30pm

M&M Odoodem, Like Totally Totem Polarized, 2016, wood, resin clay, acrylic paint, 100 x 71 x 23 inches, 254 x 180.3 x 58.4 cm. Images courtesy of the artist and The Hole Gallery

A zany exhibition of handmade sculptures and found object paintings reimagine what it might be like if a cosmic time traveler culled centuries of civilization for bits of culture along the way and assembled them into one art show. Culture Shak, The Hole NYC's exhibition of collaborative works by artists Theo A. Rosenblum and Chelsea Seltzer, explores the ridiculousness of our time, the dangers of culture appropriation, and the rather dreadful propensity our imagination has for spoiling things. On the floor of the gallery space, a Native American totem pole is reimagined using gingerbread and adorned with licorice, gum drops, and Sno-Caps. This affair continues on the walls, which hang gingerbread-styled masks modeled after different ancient cultures.

Crisper, 2016, found bust, resin clay, acrylic paint, 27 x 10 x 4 inches, 68.6 x 25.4 x 10.2 cm

Uncertainty Principle, 2016, found bust, wood, resin clay, acrylic paint, 13.5 x 9 x 5 inches, 34.3 x 22.9 x 12.7 cm

As they made the work, Rosenblum and Seltzer say they developed an interest in the idea of collecting, and in how cultural objects are taken out of context through the lens of time as other cultures adopt and reinterpret them. By presenting these absurd, exaggerated examples, the artists create a self-reflexive perspective on what it means to borrow or ‘remix’ works from different times and places. “We believe that an artist's job is to be a mirror of the time and place they are living in and this show is a reflection of the mostly random, sometimes humorous and often disturbing Information Age that we inhabit,” they say. A bust of Albert Einstein is remodeled as a "cat breading" meme. A life size sculpture of an alien holds up the waistband to his oversize jeans like Jared in old Subway adverts.

Lost in Space, 2016, wood, aluminum foil, resin clay, red clay powder, sand, found objects, acrylic paint, 68 x 24 x 24 inches, 172.7 x 61 x 61 cm

In a series of ‘commemorative plates,’ the artists painted embellishments onto found images. Rosenblum and Seltzer put panties on a Norman Rockwell painting, breasts on a unicorn, and a Prada bag on a Cherokee warrior. One of Culture Shak's centerpieces is a sculpture titled Charred ’n Charged, which sees an immolated human skeleton lying on a sort of funeral mound while clutching an iPhone and wearing Crocs. Check out more from the show, below:

Charred ‘n Charged, 2016, wood, foam, found objects, paper mache, aqua resin, acrylic paint, 39 x 47 x 25 inches, 99.1 x 119.4 x 63.5 cm

Biomass, 2016, cooler, foam, resin clay, resin, acrylic paint, 46 x 70 x 14 inches, 116.8 x 177.8 x 35.6 cm

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

False Face 1, 2016, found objects, aqua resin, fiberglass, acrylic paint, 16 x 13 x 6 inches, 40.6 x 33 x 15.2 cm

Culture Shak is on at The Hole Gallery in New York City through February 5th. Learn more about the show on The Hole's website

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