DCKT Contemporary is pleased to present EXENE CERVENKA’s second New York solo exhibition featuring two new bodies of work deeply invested in the aesthetics of American culture: “The Spirits Are Alive and Well” and “EPIC HERO”.
There will be a reception for the artist on Friday, June 20 from 6 – 8pm.
“The Spirits Are Alive and Well” is a talismanic series of collages created from antique photographs and other found material. The reclaimed portraits and pieces of castaway cultural ephemera are composite snapshots of America. The chance appearance of the number “46” during the creation of the first collage resonated with CERVENKA and led her to Psalm 46 in the Bible, rumored to have been translated by William Shakespeare for the King James Version. Several coincidences occur that have perpetuated this theory of Shakespeare’s translation; at the time of publication of the King James Version, William Shakespeare was 46 years old. In Psalm 46, the 46th word from the beginning is “shake” and the 46th word from the end is “spear”.
“EPIC HERO” is a series of unique stenciled and spray-painted paintings referencing anti-flyposting messages such as “POST NO BILLS.” CERVENKA’s stenciled lettering reclaims the ready-made template, combining American symbology and imagery that challenges militarism, patriotism and notions of valor. From the camouflage of army fatigues to Warhol’s camouflage paintings, “EPIC HERO” and its layered complexity is at the very heart of contemporary Americana.
An icon of the Los Angeles seventies punk scene, EXENE CERVENKA is known internationally as a founding member of the critically acclaimed band, X, currently touring the United States through June 13th. A spoken word and visual artist for more than 30 years, CERVENKA’s work is included in Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk at the Claremont Museum of Art (May 18 – August 31, 2008). Previous one-person exhibitions include the Santa Monica Museum of Art (2005) and Western Project, Culver City, CA (2007).