CHUBBY FATS, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
Charlie Foxtrot, an exhibition of montages and drawings by artist Daniel Newman marks the inauguration of Eighth Veil, a new contemporary art exhibition and publishing house in Hollywood, California and Newman’s Los Angeles debut. Simultaneously embracing the buildings history and the convenient proximity to Paper Chase, Eighth Veil provides residency programs to artists with the expressed focus being the production of printed matter.
The gallery occupies an original 1920’s storefront on Sunset Blvd. In addition its footprint once housed an over-sized offset litho press which was once responsible for feeding the gluttonous mechanics of the celebrity machine by printing zillions upon zillions of head shots of people in the entertainment industry. Everyone from Tea Leoni, to weird Al Yankovic, to Arsenio Hall, to the countless extras that fill the backgrounds of every Hollywood film, to those that never even made it that far. During the 80′s and 90′s long lines formed down what was ostensibly just another block of Sunset Bloulevard as individuals anticipating the result of their personal glossy 8″x10″s from the ‘dream machine’ would wait. Today the space remains to be an active print shop for an array for clients (they now print mostly books).
CHARLIE FOXTROT installation view. Courtesy of Eighth Veil.
Using available source material such as posters of celebrities, outtakes, printing errors, and material combed from the gutters of Sunset Boulevard, Newman, throughout his residency at Eighth Veil created a body of work, in particular photo montages, which beyond the initial game of trying to recognize who is depicted, prompt a reappraisal of our understanding celebrity identity.
Oftentimes in the case of the ‘icon’ we are bombarded by branding campaigns, typecasting misadventures and individual assertions of ego to the point where our natural judge of character can no longer function. Newman describes this with his title CHARLIE FOXTROT, a term derived from a military fiasco that speaks to the visual onslaught of the exhibition while serving as a moniker for the new amalgamated characters that his work creates. Here once recognizable people have been effaced. At this point it is important to make the distinction between effacement and defacement; Newman’s works are not works of iconoclasm, rather they create new identities through historical or personal association.
“I was asked to create a new body of work which would respond to the loaded history of the space and to the color of seedy Sunset Blvd. All of the work in CHARLIE FOXTROT was conceived and created in a relatively short period of time – two months.” said Newman.
SEA SHANTIES, 2009.ourtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
GISSINGER (TELEPHONE), 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
Meeting the challenge of how one can possibly illustrate, approach, or even begin to make sense of senseless times, infinite reproduction of images, historical amnesia, and the endless anxieties associated with this era – an age when Thomas Edison and Henry ford are both just two dead boring white men who invented various thingamajigs; the names Chubby Checker and Fats Domino mean nothing more than funny tongue twisters; and recently released white house tapes transcribe amicable discussions between Henry Kissinger and Allen Ginsberg, two men who (in their time) maintained public personas that could not have possibly been more at odds (the doctor of evil, the poet of counterculture) – Newman makes sweeping references and connections as obscure yet telling as Krampus and Katamari.
BOTTLES (E.V. I), 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
TOMBSTONE, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
Interspersed through the exhibition are a number of drawings and collages which help inform the digital montages. In addition the production of a book entitled MONOCLE was incredibly important for both Newman and the gallery. A matter of discussion from the exhibition’s inception party due to the fact that it might not be possible to complete due to time constraints, the book represents the realization of one of space’s mission statements: that in addition to the residency program, Eighth Veil aims to create catalogs or books for every exhibition.
C.F. (UNDERPAINTING), 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
KATAMARI FIGURE STUDY, 2009 *please note, this piece was a collaboration between Daniel Newman and Fucked Up Drawing Party. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
Newman states: “MONOCLE, a book which accompanies the exhibition, is a 92 page selection of images that were either made or found during my residency at Eighth Veil that were not included in but that may illuminate or complicate the work in CHARLIE FOXTROT. Basically it’s a clusterfuck of failed attempts, occasionally elegant watercolors, disgusting gutter detritus of Sunset Blvd., luscious photographic studies of human anatomy, half assed Sharpie marker scribbles, printing errors from the dumpster of Paper Chase Printing, and on and on…”
KRAMPUS CLAUS (GOAT), 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
ELEPHANT, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Eighth Veil.
In addition to addressing themes concurrent with the end of the last century, this exhibition succeeds in making connections that are revealing enough about our own times to garner the interest of a contemporary audience. Perhaps given today’s mess of agenda’s (which may or may not conflict with his own ideals concerning consciousness) Newman seems to find it necessary or helpful to obscure something in order to see it clearly. His show, which amounts so somewhat of a hall of mirrors, above all enables the viewer to engage their perceptual mind to the end that he/she might revive some interest in independently judging character, or at its very core, the mechanisms that affect or enable the various visual, perceptual and capitalized manifestations of ego in modern media. Perhaps then his work primarily didactic, created with an expressed function of engendering mass left-wing enlightenment. To that end we will allow the artist to have the last word: “I sure hope I’m not making didactic art….I’m into poetics and erotics these days, not politics…”
Daniel Newman was born in 1978 in Jacksonville, Florida and received his BFA from The Cooper Union in 2002. His work is currently featured in Miami Noir at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS in New York and he is soon to release WWW by [NAME] Publications, Miami.
For more information please visit: www.eighthveil.org