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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"Werewolf Karaoke" opens Thursday at Wadsworth during Phoenix Art After Hours event

Wadsworth Atheneum
600 Main St., Hartford, (860) 278-2670
Justin Lowe: Werewolf Karaoke
June 3—Sept. 5, 2010
Opening reception: Thurs., June 3, 5 p.m.

Press release

The return of the Wadsworth Atheneum's MATRIX contemporary art series continues this summer with a new, site-specific installation by New York artist Justin Lowe, titled Werewolf Karaoke/MATRIX 159. Lowe's exhibition is comprised of four interconnected rooms that reference aspects of the Wadsworth's collection, such as the museum's two period rooms, the Austin House, and the adjacent gallery of Surrealist paintings, while reflecting a more contemporary culture, rooted in 1970s psychedelia. The exhibition opens on June 3 and is on view through Sept. 5, 2010.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art continues its fun, fast-paced approach to Thursday night happy hour with the exhibition opening of Justin Lowe/MATRIX 159 on June 3, 2010. Lowe's Werewolf Karaoke themed installation will offer the perfect backdrop to a night of art, music and film in conjunction with the museum's monthly Phoenix Art After Hours event.

The night's music begins with DJ Breakadawn as she spins dance, trance and hip-hop until the Psychic Ills take the stage at 7 p.m. Named "Best Psych Rock Band" in the Village Voice 2006 Best of NYC issue, the experimental Brooklyn-based band complements Lowe's eclectic style and distinctive spin on contemporary art.

A hands-on graffiti art activity led by Hartford artist Jose Camacho will add to the gritty nature of the event, reflecting the wildly-decorated public restroom in Lowe's installation, which pays homage to the one at CBGB, the legendary New York hardcore and punk rock club.

Exhibition artist Justin Lowe will also be on hand to give two artist "Small Talks" explaining his new installation and the multi-media collage process he used to achieve such a large scale, experiential work of art.

The seemingly disparate rooms in Lowe's installation - a gallery, passageway, video lounge, and restroom - connect through visual threads that carry through all four spaces, which is typical of Lowe's practice.

Lowe will transform the gallery space through a multi-media collage process that combines video, painting, slide show, and sculpture into a large-scale, experiential work of art. A highlight of the piece will be Lowe's contemporary approach to the concept of the museum "period room," which will reference the Wadsworth's Goodwin and Whetmore parlors, but in the form of a wildly-decorated public restroom, inspired by the notorious graffiti-covered bathroom at CBGB, the legendary New York hardcore and punk rock club.

"All of the imagery in the exhibition is in a state of dissolution," Lowe said. "Hidden elements are revealed, but as they attain clarity they are once again obscured by an image emerging from beneath, similar to the classic werewolf transformation scene, which plays out metaphorically throughout the exhibition."

Justin Lowe was born in 1976 in Dayton, OH and lives and works in New York City. He has been exhibiting since 2000, creating installation "environments" like gallery-lounges, cluttered house interiors and—for his 2006 solo show at Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery, New York—an intricately stocked bodega and Mister Softee truck. Most recently Mr. Lowe has been collaborating with Jonah Freeman on an elaborate labyrinthine environment exploring the community ritual and psychoses surrounding the historical trajectory of meth culture from its separatist hippie roots and its ties to global alchemy, at such places as Ballroom Marfa and Deitch Projects.


The Wadsworth was the first to embrace the idea of contemporary art in an "encyclopedic" museum through its MATRIX program, which began in 1975 as a series of single-artist exhibitions that have showcased more than 150 artists, providing many non-prominent artists with their first solo museum exhibition in the United States-including Adrian Piper, Louise Lawler, Janine Antoni, and Dawoud Bey. These, and many MATRIX artists, such as Sol LeWitt, Willem de Kooning, Christo, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Gerhard Richter, are now considered seminal figures in contemporary art.

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