ARTLURKER

A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Jet Set Saturdays: Dan Finsel at Parker Jones

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Dan Finsel, I Would Love Farrah, Farrah, Farrah (I), 2009 [still], HD video, 20:24, Ed. 3 + 1 AP

In 1976, there came an idolatrous poster. Not just any idol, but the one many a young man would intently observe when his parents went out for dinner. With blond tresses, white perfect teeth, and nipples erect, the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit poster became the image of choice for teenage predecessors to Generation X. Dan Finsel’s détournement, a new installment to his video series I Would Love Farrah, Farrah, Farrah…that he’s entitled I Could Be Anybody. I Could Be Somebody re-packages the poster, conversations Ms. Fawcett had on her deathbed, and an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where Brenda Walsh thinks she might have cancer. The 20 minute video, shot in the artist’s Chinatown studio, finds the artist in seemingly uncomfortable outfits – a red one-piece swimsuit, a too large white oxford, a blond wig and tennis dress, and red Vuarnet-style glasses chipped and scratched from years of use. Throughout the piece, where Finsel is seen a front of green screen, one can detect the reflection of a Dan Flavin-esque sculpture in his glasses. The installation at Parker Jones that closes tomorrow (hurry, hurry!) also has a 54 x 96 inch fluorescent light sculpture called Untitled (To Farrah), where the artist riffs on the title Flavin himself would have given the piece had he made it for the Charlie’s Angels star, reifying the works of the Minimalist icon while referring to filmic vernacular via the 16:9 ratio of its proportions.

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Dan Finsel, I Would Love Farrah, Farrah, Farrah (I), 2009 [still], HD video, 20:24, Ed. 3 + 1 AP
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Gallery says: “The totality of Dan Finsel’s work is driven by a central character; one that he constructed in the Fall of 2008, and one in which he continues to embody through performance, video, and various paraphernalia. This personality is an amalgamation of various mediaconstructed subjectivities, specifically those from popular film and television. Finsel adopts these roles and their associated narratives through the character of a schizophrenic and self-obsessed man-child. Emotionally and ethically educated through the chronicles of coming-of-age teenage melodramas, “Finsel” exists within a conflation between the logic of a Peewee Herman’s Playhouse and Andy Kaufman, reality TV and filmed studio performance art…

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Dan Finsel, I Would Love Farrah, Farrah, Farrah (I), 2009 [still], HD video, 20:24, Ed. 3 + 1 AP
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Shiny white patent vinyl flooring is installed in the gallery — the kind of substructure employed for sexy rap music videos and glam-y fashion spreads — and the theatricality of the floor and fluorescent lighting juxtaposed by the quirky, ironic video is unnerving. Using Stanislavsky acting techniques, “Finsel” repeats lines over and over and over into his iPhone: “If I keep talking I’ll cry,” and “I’m a private person, I’m shy about people knowing things…” The repetition creates an awkward, almost cloying presence, one that drags the viewer in and then keeps her there through angst-riddled reiteration. The cyclical nature and cadence of the piece allows one to see Finsel’s progression/regression of emotions, a process where the subject re-structuralizes television as he morphs into different incarnations of the character and his psychology. Beads of sweat on the artist’s forehead mark his torment, and the video ends with him giddily taking off the white dress to reveal that iconic red tank suit. Genitals slightly exposed, wig askew, and posed like Farrah did back in the day, Dan Finsel’s dérive unsettles the viewer just enough to elicit a similar sort of teenage anxiety as one might feel if left alone in a room with a certain poster for an extremely long time.

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Dan Finsel, Untitled (To Farrah), 2009. Single tube fluorescent lights, 54 x 96 inches.

Parker Jones is located at 510 Bernard Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. New gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, Noon til 6pm.

For more information please visit www.parkerjonesgallery.com

This post was contributed by Annie Wharton.

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Jet Set Saturdays: Dan Finsel at Parker Jones