The sensationalist wisecracks start upon arrival: parked out entrance of the PIPPA GARNER: $ELL YOUR $ELF exhibition at Artwork Omi is Haulin’ Ass! (2023), a vibrant crimson pick-up truck sporting a set of flesh-colored super-size truck-testicles that dangle from the again of the car. Enter the constructing and an array of monotone t-shirts hung above within the type of laundry line point out lusty and pithy punchlines similar to “Unhealthy in Mattress” and “I odor MONEY! Is it you?” The proverbial LOL (i.e., snort out loud) continues all through this present, and Pippa Garner’s (b. 1942 in Illinois fka Philip Garner) regular dose of defiant humor is a welcomed good time.
The primary institutional solo exhibition of her work in New York, this present brings collectively 100 artworks that replicate her vary of inventive exploration, together with drawings, sculptures, pictures, and installations. For over 5 many years, Garner has produced a witty, provocative, and downright hilarious physique of labor that playfully pokes enjoyable on the industrial forces of the post-Fordist American panorama. Along with her want to “journey the circuit” of the equipment that contains the consumer-driven equipment, Garner’s artworks have additionally taken the type of mail-order catalogs, categorized advertisements, clothes, customized automobiles, and performances on the streets or on tv. This exhibit of Garner’s motley type expresses various levels of the pleasure and perversion of mass-produced merchandise that supply an idea of oneself in society.
Among the many finest gags are Garner’s drawings of exaggerated cars together with monumental wheels, themed campers, and goofy automotive particulars to make one chuckle. Along with her deal with the automotive business to interrogate the language of America commerce and machismo, Garner’s coaching in automotive design has remained a baseline of her creative experimentation since she was kicked out of the ArtCenter School of Design’s transportation design program in 1969 for presenting a automotive morphing right into a human physique. A recent of artists similar to Ed Ruscha, Chris Burden, and the Ant Farm assortment, Garner started her profession in earnest within the Nineteen Seventies as a efficiency artist in Los Angeles after serving in Vietnam as a fight artist tasked with documenting the warfare by way of sketches and illustrations.
At age 46, Garner started taking black market feminine hormones and transitioned genders to create disorientation about her place in society and to keep away from stereotypes whereas inspecting the opportunity of her sex-change—or “gendercide”—as a sort of shopper expertise. A few of Garner’s drawings and writings on this matter are housed in a vitrine alongside the wall, and feedback similar to “gender ambiguity is my consolation zone” disclose her want to show heteronormativity the wrong way up. A sequence of small sketches of feminine pubic hair formed in varied manicured designs similar to “flight attendant,” “cat lover,” and “NFL fan,” for instance, spotlight the perfect of Garner’s silliness and bawdy spirit.
Thought-about a humorist with a penchant for technological satire, Garner’s bodily physique as uncooked materials is a central gist of this entertaining present. And whereas the wall didactic spoke of her exploration of the anxiousness, alienation, and paranoia of dwelling and workplace life with artworks aimed toward retooling the mounting pressures of productiveness, one doesn’t detect this facet of her work right here, relatively this exhibition is a intelligent presentation of her amusing mindset in all its unabashed confidence. This thoughtful collection of artworks curated by Sara O’Keeffe in collaboration with Man Weltchek current—and I quote Garner—the “UTOPIA OR BUST” essence of this badass artist: comply with the so-called guidelines with utter defiance and absurdist wit. As Pippa Garner would say, so fucking what?