A Twist on Relational Aesthetics

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Happy Meal” by Montreal artist Thierry Marceau at Joyce Yahouda is no longer in exhibition but is definitely worth mentioning! Why may you ask? What importance does it hold? And why bring it up now? Well, my friends this display by Thierry Marceau displayed the past, relational aesthetics, and celebrated the gallery space in a number of new and exciting ways. 

The ethos surrounding “Happy Meal” was the exploration of the relationship between POPULAR CULTURE and the King of Pop Art, ANDY WARHOL. Marceau transformed the gallery space into a playground of kitschy, gauche McDonald icons in conversation with the late Mr. Warhol.

Upon entering the space, the viewer walks beneath the iconic GOLDEN ARCHES into a McD’s haven. The viewer was then confronted with images, installations and sculptures all relating to that franchise we all know so well and love. Chicken nuggets play in what looks like a play pen, hamburgers sculptures, friends of Ronald McDonald, images and video installations of Ronald McDonald play throughout the gallery space, where viewers could sit on comfy red and yellow pillows mirroring those playgrounds kids are so often used to playing in at the restaurant.

To the left of this so-called McDonald’s sanctuary lay another room. Covered in silver paper, hung images of Marceau depicted as Warhol imitating the environment of THE FACTORY. These two rooms adjacent to each other seem to fit perfectly next to one another – the King of Pop commenting on one of the largest popular culture phenomenon’s that has taken over internationally.

Now, I that I have explained the space, why might you ask is this innovative or any different? What struck me about this exhibition was the underlying celebration of our postmodern world we live in today.

What Marceau essentially created was a place of deconstruction where we could look at the past, and our current situation today and find new ways of interpreting the past to our current situation. This exhibition plays upon this relatively new 90’s theory art historians like to call RELATIONAL AESTHETICS, but puts a twist on it.

Marceau created a space where the viewer could INTERACT, take part and come to ones own conclusions. There was no need for the artist to coerce the audience into interaction because the space he created did this itself. We walk around see what we see and come to our own conclusions. Maybe Warhol was celebrating this global franchise that links people, cultures society together. Maybe he was making a mockery of how culture becomes so wrapped up in our consumer goods and getting a bang for our buck. This twist for me was new and exciting, because I felt an instant conversation arise between myself, McDonald’s and Warhol. Marceau breathed new life into a late artist and older artistic movement. It was NEW, EXCITING, and FRESH. That’s what ART should be.

PEACE OUT, K

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