LOCATION: Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, Art Building, San José State University (Near 9th / San Carlos Streets)
EXHIBITION DATES: January 29 – February 22, 2019
OPENING RECEPTION: Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 6:00pm-7:30pm Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, Art Building, San José State University Free and open to the public
(408) 924 - 4330 | Gallery.sjsu.edu | Gallery@sjsu.edu
Curated by Aaron Wilder
A little newer, a little better, a little faster. Like the eager anticipation of the newest smartphone, compulsive human motion and consumption ultimately lead to the hastening of our physical, cultural, and social deterioration. Planned Obsolescence is a group exhibition at the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery displaying works by artists of the greater Bay Area: Sebastian Alvarez, Ebitenyefa Baralaye, Terry Berlier, Ilana Crispi, Woody De Othello, Hope Kroll, Izidora Leber LETHE, Diana Li, Darrin Martin, Daniel McClain, Lucy Puls, and Lauren Jade Szabo.
Wrapped up in the capitalist essence that seems to saturate every facet of contemporary culture, the term “planned obsolescence” refers to a practice of consumer goods manufacturing companies to engineer rapid consumption through frequent changes in design, termination of spare part inventory, and use of nondurable materials in their products. While this term was originally coined by economists to describe the practice of consumer goods manufacturers (particularly in the automobile industry), the term is now more commonly applied to practices of the technology industry. Since the majority of these companies are here in Silicon Valley, the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery has invited artists from the greater Bay Area with a diversity of perspectives to present work reflecting on contemporary notions of “planned obsolescence.”
Like the upgrades of hardware and the updates of software we scramble to keep pace with, the term “planned obsolescence” is equally an apt description of the human experience. While our individual lives are unique to our own perspectives on reality, components of experiences within our lifespan are partially relatable to and replicated by future generations after we have passed away. Each artificially limited, useful life contains flaws, weaknesses, and limitations we continuously seek to replace quicker, shortening the replacement cycle of our world, paradigm, and relations more and more. This exhibition applies the ever-shortening lifespan of technological products to what it means to be human. The artists question erasure of identity through commodification and the effect of materialism and waste on objects, traditions, and the environment.
Woody De Othello & Lucy Puls: Planned Obsolescence
Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 5:00pm-6:00pm
SJSU Campus, Art Building Lecture Hall, Room #133
Free and open to the public
GALLERY HOURS: Monday – Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm and Tuesday evenings 6:00pm-7:30pm (and by appointment)
Monday – Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm and Tuesday evenings 6:00pm-7:30pm (and by appointment)
Jo Farb Hernández, Director
Artist Lauren Jade Szabo makes paintings composed of man-made objects in the process of being reclaimed by nature. Being originally from Los Angeles, she was impacted by the tendency of locals to spend a significant amount of their time in their cars commuting where they are constantly bombarded with advertising. Szabo’s subjects are always in an unrestored state and include paper billboards, neon signs, incandescent bulb signs, and skytyping. Szabo chooses to depict such signs in a state of decay as advertisements seem to promise perfect, static, and ultimately false outcomes. About her work’s focus on addressing contemporary social issues through painting Szabo has said “I consider my work to be a part of a generation that shares a collective consciousness of reevaluating the ways that humans interact with the environment and each other as our hybrid landscape progresses.” Indeed, her exhibited work reflects an urgency of reevaluating our relationship to consumerism.
In conjunction with the opening of this group exhibition, participating artists Woody De Othello and Lucy Puls will present illustrated lectures 5:00pm - 6:00pm in the Department of Art & Art History Lecture Hall (room 133) the evening of January 29, 2019, just prior to the opening reception, 6:00pm-7:30pm in the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery. Both events are free and open to the public.
We would like to extend our humblest appreciation to Woody De Othello as well as Jessica Silverman, Barret Lybbert, Jennifer Bindman, and the staff of Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco, CA) for their help in facilitating the loan of Woody De Othello’s work and to Sebastian Alvarez, Ebitenyefa Baralaye, Terry Berlier, Ilana Crispi, Hope Kroll, Izidora Leber LETHE, Diana Li, Darrin Martin, Daniel McClain, Lucy Puls, and Lauren Jade Szabo for generously loaning their own works to us directly.