Although he had found a reasonable amount of success as a playwright and through the creation of a favorably received webcast, filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock‘s first major mainstream recognition came in 2004 with his Academy Award-nominated docu-drama Supersize Me. Instantly spring-boarded into the public eye, Spurlock came across like a less intense, more soluble Michael Moore, starring in his own investigative pieces, and it was clear that this was more than a simple one-off documentary –there would definitely be more to see from the native-West Virginian in the future. Building off of the Supersize Me concept, which had him eating McDonalds food for 30 days straight, Morgan later hosted, and was often the subject in, the FX program, 30 Days. Each episode documented an individual enduring a 30-day span of time, immersed in a lifestyle that was in severe contrast to their normal everyday lives (spending time incarcerated, Christians living amongst Muslims, homophobes amongst homosexuals, etc.) to learn about themselves and the lives of others, in a manner that The Real World will never fully accomplish. Among his other film work is Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, in which Spurlock heads to dangerous territories in the middle east, searching for the since-murdered founder of Al Qaeda, while filming the real innocent families that are trapped in a war-torn country, and POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Told, a film completely funded by product placement, in which the subject matter is all about product placement and the footage almost entirely consists of him collecting the corporate sponsors to finance the film. His most recent film project finds him teamed with Marvel Comics legend/Spiderman creator, Stan “The Man” Lee and Josh Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly) to direct a documentary about Comicon. This weekend Spurlock steps out of the world of film and into fine art, as he curates a group exhibit at Culver City, California‘s highly renowned contemporary art gallery, Thinkspace.
One of my all time favorite artists is Ron English, but whenever I mention him to those who are unfamiliar with his work, the most effective reference that I can make is to the image of the overweight Ronald McDonald with the $ chain that he created for Supersize Me. After that, I follow up by asking if they’ve ever seen the Abraham Obama painting that he also created. For those that don’t know the true scope of Ron‘s work and talent, the realism and technique in his painting are “unreal” and, since the early 1980s, he’s been revolutionizing the concept of street art. One of the most noticeable marks that he made early on dealt with “hijacking” billboards and replacing, or “modifying”, them with his own shockingly anti-corporate imagery, such as Joe Camel with cancer or placing Charles Manson on a mock Apple “Think Different” ad. Other running themes throughout English‘s work, beyond capitalism, are comic book characters, war, and pop culture. Based on the common themes that run throughout Spurlock‘s own work, it’s no surprise that he’s an ardent fan of English‘s career or an avid collector of work by some of the best contemporary art in general.
Having quite a bit of pull, Morgan Spurlock has managed to use this debut curatorial effort to assemble an extremely impressive roster of names from the underground contemporary art world. Among the contributors to the group exhibit are huge names like English and Shepard Fairey, of Obey Giant and Obama HOPE fame. The concept behind the NEW BLOOD exhibit is to showcase a collection of highly impactful artists that Spurlock feels “have changed the art world forever” while having them showcase their work alongside an equal number of contributors that they, themselves, have handpicked as the “next wave” of talent coming up in the art scene.
Not only are all of the contributors known for being incredibly skilled, but the filmmaker has also chosen artists with a wide variation of styles. DZINE is typically known for his crystal encrusted mandalas and incredibly ornate low rider bikes and cars [he even suped up a speedboat, complete with an elaborate speaker/DJ setup]. Mark Jenkins -who we’ve showcased before– has made his name by creating body casts out of packing tape, dressing them up to look like “real” humans, and abandoning them in public; often in puzzling and/or compromising positions. Gary Baseman and Tim Biskup are both highly regarded artists that each have a very cartoony throwback feel to their art, but while Baseman has continued to translate his style into the worlds of designer toys, fashion, and even by creating the artwork for the boardgame Cranium, Biskup has successfully ventured into working with cubism in recent years. Fuck, the whole lineup is crazy. I’ve witnessed one of Nicola Verlato‘s paintings in person before and they’re remarkable, with his tendency to freeze high octane images mid motion, and his handpicked artist, Marco Mazzoni, is an example of an artist already making waves, having appeared on the cover of the 20th issue of Hi-Fructose magazine.
Here’s the full list of featured artists:
Camille Rose Garcia / Travis Lampe
The Date Farmers / Albert Reyes
Dzine / Jesus Bubu Negron
Elizabeth McGrath / Morgan Slade
Gary Baseman / Jess Dickenson,
Gary Taxali / Adrian Forrow
Jonanthan Yeo / Charlie Gouldsborough
Mark Jenkins / Sandra Fernandez
Nicola Verlato / Marco Mazzoni
Ron English / Kid Zoom
Saber / ZES
Shepard Fairey / Nicholas Bowers
Tim Biskup / Patrick Hruby
Here are a few words from Morgan Spurlock, himself
(via press release)…
“I’m a massive art collector who, by way of my habit formed a relationship with Thinkspace’s
Andrew Hosner, and when he offered me the opportunity to curate a show I jumped at the
chance. The concept of the show is how the torch is passed from one artist to the next. One
opens the door so another can follow. And this show is all about artists who I think have and are
continuing to impact and change the art world, and each one of these artists is bringing along an
‘apprentice’ or ‘protege’ who they think we all need to know about, the artists they believe are
the ‘New Blood’ of the art world.”
The opening night reception with the artists will be held this Saturday, April 28th from 5-8pm at the Thinkspace gallery. We obviously recommend making it out for that if possible, but, if you’re unable to make it out to the opening, there’s still plenty of time to check it out. The show will be on view until May 19th.
6009 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Open Wednesday – Friday 1:00PM – 6:00PM and Saturday 1:00PM – 8:00PM
Thinkspace was kind enough to send over a few preview and work in progress images for NEW BLOODS, which you can check out below.
[Click images to enlarge]