New gallery piece questions the commodity of art
A new art exhibit questioned the ability for art to exist under capitalism and analyzed the relationship between artwork and the marketing of that art.
FISK Gallery, located on NE MLK Blvd opened a new exhibit titled “Corporate Solutions.” The exhibit showcases the work of Chaz Bear, a graphic designer and musician known professionally as Toro y Moi. Bear’s exhibit “Corporate Solutions” was quite bizarre—especially without being given a backstory first. The exhibit opened with a showcase on Feb. 7.
The main focus of the exhibit was to showcase Bear’s paintings, which feature acrylic paint on stretched canvas supports, in addition to his screen-printed collage works done on paper. According to Bijan Berahimi, the owner of FISK, “the paintings in the show are the result of an approach that combines graphic immediacy with improvised and impressionistic decision making.” The works are “intended to induce a feeling of sensory overload.”
The finale of the “Corporate Solutions” showcase was a performance piece where the visual aspects of “Corporate Solutions” were brought to life. The imaginary “company” that Bear created is intended to market his paintings as office art. In an interview with Bear, he explained that the piece was a “tongue-in-cheek” approach to talk about his art.
In the gallery, there were multiple displays of traditional professions, such as shipping and handling, construction, and typical office jobs. Images very similar to stock image photos feature Bear and his “co-workers” doing work like packing up boxes, measuring unidentifiable objects, wearing hard hats for no apparent reason, and high fiving next to a laptop. It was a little ridiculous—but that’s the point. Bear wanted to troll the traditional ways of marketing the art world while also marketing his own art, and he succeeded in doing so.
While walking through the exhibit, the art seemed to be received very well by all of the attendees. People understood the irony of “Corporate Solutions” right away and were eager to take photos of the stock images along with the “Corporate Solutions” logo that was littered throughout the gallery.
In the middle of it all, there was a giant stack of “Corporate Solutions” boxes that were stacked together like a game of Tetris. One of the event’s attendees stood in front of one of the paintings, pointing at it and said, “I feel like I could do this. Is that messed up for me to say?” Maybe it is, in any case the work of “Corporate Solutions” inspired a dialogue of what exactly marketing has to do with art and why it’s there in the first place.