The Collected Multiples of Cary S. Leibowitz is the first survey show focussing exclusively on the editions published by the New York based artist Cary S. Leibowitz/Candyass. Some pieces short of the “Complete Multiples” show, this selection offers a substantial overview over nearly 20 years of multiple production.
Cary S. Leibowitz multiples are food for thought for the special taste and appetite.
Most of them are based on ready made objects. These are products, often of distinctly minor quality, designed as tools for advertisement, as souvenirs, fan-wear. All of them are items of mass-production that are adjusted to the artist’s particular ideas and messages. Their poor design or production quality becomes as much part of the narrative as does their original purpose of use. The objects chosen for artistic redevelopment range from coffee-mugs, ski hats, teddy-bears, car window screens, Frisbees, ice-cream scoops and dust shovels, Yarmulkes, scarfs and waste paper baskets. Leibowitz changes colours, dedicates objects to a new, unexpected purpose and most importantly, he adds text – quite obviously his most powerful strategy of alienation.
We argue that the use of text transforms these objects into books. The signature tune of his writings, sentences and slogans is irony, parody and a clever form of understatement that is just as insightful as revealing. His topics are identity, culture, gender, ethnicity and politics. He successfully questions the imagery of masculinity, success, acceptance and political correctness.
Art-historical references are a key issue in these works. They can be obvious and openly addressed, i.e. in the form of art-fan-wear, or they can take the form of a seemingly casual and random aspect.
The strong and mostly self–effacing humour is important to the work but should not distract from the potential for weight these seemingly light objects carry. They quickly bring a smile to the face. They are catchy and precise like the chorus line of a pop song. But far more interestingly and importantly they are witty companions in ample personal observations and contemplations. For many they have become figures of thought, intellectual bookmarks, personal reference points. They are great to live with and so they have become Collected Multiples for a devoted following both in the US as well as in Europe. You are welcome to join this club of the happy but not the few at Printed Matter NOW!
A catalogue will be published. It will take the form of T-shirts, with a text by Rafael von Uslar.