Where Were We. The artist employs a signature combination of printed materials, design strategies, and text to create work inscribed with psychological content and critique. In various modes of production including letterpress prints, screenprints, and posters, Brannon constructs an indeterminate graphic identity that veils a pointed sensibility. On show letterpress and screenprint imagery ranging from men's toiletries to sushi dinners arranged as framed prints.
Where Were We
curated by Howie Chen
For his first solo museum exhibition, Matthew Brannon creates a commissioned installation for the Whitney Museum at Altria’s Gallery and Sculpture Court that underscores the complex relationship between art, career ambition, power, and taste. Brannon transforms graphic images and text into narratives that explore social values, underlying psychologies of promotion, sublimation of dysfunction, and the consequences of career insecurity. With Where Were We, Brannon creates an expanded dialogue with the works, display structures, and the context of the bustling midtown atmosphere. Matthew Brannon: Where Were We is curated by Howie Chen, branch manager at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Drawing on the graphic iconography of corporate, commuter, and after-hour cosmopolitan lifestyles, Where Were We presents letter-pressed and silk-screened imagery ranging from men’s toiletries to sushi dinners arranged as framed prints on a series of custom display structures designed by Brannon. Also part of the exhibition is a large-scale commissioned work in the public windows of the Sculpture Court featuring a stark 30-foot black silhouette of a coiled eel. As a reoccurring motif in Brannon’s work, the eel acts as a changing symbol and conflicted logo for abjectness, refinement, and wealth despite its simple and alluring graphic presence. Viewable from both outside Grand Central Terminal and inside the Whitney at Altria, the eel takes on the promotional proportion of commercial street signage in the context of Midtown and the Times Square area. Taken together, the narratives and imagery in Where Were We form an experience akin to reading a screenplay that is both anonymous and personal.
Born in 1971 in St. Marie’s, Idaho, Matthew Brannon received his B.A from the University of California, Los Angeles and his M.F.A from Columbia University. Brannon lives and works in New York and has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions including at Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, Canada; Art 37 Basel Statements, David Kordansky Gallery, Basel, Switzerland; Friedrich Pretzel Gallery, NY, NY; and Jan Winkelmann, Berlin, Germany. His work has also been featured in group exhibitions at venues such as The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Hudson Valley, NY; United Artists. Ltd., Marfa; Galerie Edward Mitterrand, Geneva, Switzerland; Art Forum, Berlin, Germany; White Columns, NY, NY; and P.S.1 MoMA, NY, NY.
Matthew Brannon: Where Were We is accompanied by a free brochure with an essay by curator Howie Chen. Free gallery talks are offered every Wednesday and Friday at 1:00 p.m.
Opening: March 29, 2007
Whitney Museum at Altria
120 Park Avenue at 42nd Street - New York
Gallery hours: Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.