assume vivid astro focus :
avalanches volcanoes asteroids floods
March 25 - April 20, 2017
Founded in New York City in 2001 by Eli Sudbrack (born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1968) in New York City in 2001 and joined by Christophe Hamaide-Pierson (born in Paris, France in 1973) in 2005, assume vivid astro focus collaborates with musicians, designers, dancers, and other artists to create a sense of exuberance and optimism, while critically exploring the politics of free speech, equal rights, and freedom of expression. avaf works in a vast array of media—painting, drawing, installations, video, sculpture, neons, wallpaper, and decals –to produce large-scale works that push the experiential possibilities of art. This exhibition is a “quasi-retrospective” featuring paintings and newly commissioned printed rugs.
avalanches volcanoes asteroids floods uses the avaf acronym, a play on words often utilized by the artists to refer to our collective anxiety regarding natural disasters (particularly sensitive in California and Brazil at the moment) and the general uncertainty of the times, politically, economically, and socially. avaf’s body of work absorbs, reinterprets and re-imagines diverse influences from art history , fashion, popular culture, music, politics and current events. For this exhibition, the artists drew from a range of particular sources including Henri Matisse and Sonia Delaunay : pixacáo (a style of street tagging common in Brazil) : internet star Inês Brazil; New York in the late 70’s; fetish spandex culture; Alexander Calder’s Circus; Murano glass chandeliers; Grace Jones; Maurizio Cattelan’s Toilet Paper; Franz West’s Auditorium; Bedouin tents; and Maison Pierre Loti in Rochefort, France.
While the images selected for the rugs have no chronological order, nor do they follow a specific pattern, they tend to break down two categories: 1) abstraction and color and 2) subjects related to LGBTQ politics. At times exaggerated, raunchy, and scatological, the exhibition is not solely a look back at past work, but a reaction to the recent homophobic killings in Orlando, Florida – a devastating reminder of the ongoing struggle of the LGBTQ community to achieve equal rights and freedoms. While these topics have been recurrent themes from the beginning of avaf’s collaboration, both Sudbrack and Hamaide - Pierson felt compelled to take a stronger stand at this critical moment. Hamaide - Pierson recalls, “I think that our selection of images and the intended exhibition could be described quoting Larry Kramer’s text in Esquire: Happy. Frightened. Worried. Hopeful.”
avaf has also been the subject of major exhibitions and public art projects around the world. These include Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Santa Barbara, USA (2016); Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany (2016); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, USA (2015); The Faena Art Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami, USA (2013); The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway (2009); São Paulo Bienal, São Paulo, Brazil (2008); Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA (2008); Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT), Tokyo, Japan (2007); 1st Athens Biennale, Athens, Greece (2007); The Geffen Contemporary (MoCA), Los Angeles, USA (2005); The Whitney Biennial, New York, USA (2004); among others.