January 26th - 29th, 2017
Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC)
While most galleries utilized the ALAC booths simply as vessels to showcase their artists’ works, Devin Troy Strother of Club Pro Los Angeles appropriated the booth’s tight, white drywall to emulate a claustrophobic office space in ‘Water Cooler Talk’. The trite office furnishings—awkward indoor plants, water coolers, and central desk—further constricted the space. Especially when one steps into the simulated environment with another visitor, one is confronted with the same comical unease and irritation that employees face when interacting with their coworkers while refilling their coffee. From a distance, the office environment also espoused familiar fixtures such as name plaques, ornamental paintings, and a bulletin board featuring clippings. But instead of standard office-related clippings, there was a tide of arts and crafts-like materials, including black silhouette cut-outs of female figures strongly resembling those in Strother’s 2013 solo exhibition, ‘I Just Landed in Rome’, and similar cut-out illustrations of Michael Jordan, reminiscent of his 2015 show, ‘Space Jam’. Moreover, one of the small paintings lined on the wall portrays a communication between “Tyreek” and a coworker in the Human Resources Office, with little floating labels stating “Paper”, “Paper Sh*t”, “Fax Me”, and “F*ck F*ck”. It seems Strother exploits the internal frustrations that people of color often have to conceal in tokenized corporate worlds. Lastly, Strother satirizes the superficial formalities associated with cubicle culture and dismantles the often saccharine dialogues therein.
via Liam Casey, Berlin Art Link