Toward the Center of Attention
October 01, 2005 through January 01, 2006
Curated by Matt Distel
"We must think of the media as if they were, in outer orbit, a sort of genetic code which controls the mutation of the real into the hyperreal."
The hyperreal refers to a state of affairs in which the simulation of reality begins to replace reality. The hyperreal has never been as real as it is now. If we can accept a definition of "media" to include any type of process mobilized for the sake of positioning one person or a group of people at the center of attention, meant for the consumption of others, then perhaps the media has moved from outer orbit into the fundamental fabric of everyday life.
Fame seems so close. And the gap is closing in both directions. On one side, we, the public, feel closer than ever to celebrities through the constant stream of information being dished out on television, in tabloids or on the Internet. From the other side, it seems inevitable that everyone on the planet will wind up with their own sitcom / reality show / blog site / publishing house. The collapse of the space between “celebrity life” and “normal life” runs directly parallel with a blurring of the borders of reality.
Artists have frequently examined the lives of the wealthy and famous as a means of critiquing the structures that create hierarchies. Many artists have also explored those areas in which obscurity transforms into fame.
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.”
—Andy Warhol 1968
Perhaps then, the insatiable desire for the spotlight is not a terribly new subject for artists. There just seems to be a lot more of that material lying around these days. This exhibition examines only a few strategic approaches as artists move toward the center of attention. Several contemporary archetypes – the rock star, the movie star, the politician, the talk show host – are closely examined and deconstructed within this exhibition. Star Star also attempts to provide the perspective of the fan within the dynamic of performance and celebrity. From awkward adoration to cynical exploitation or shameless self-promotion to mocking self-parody, each of these works explores a different tendency when confronted with the spotlight.