A Discord In Our Material and Spiritual Harmony
Solo exhibition at Johannes Vogt Gallery, NYC
September 7 - October 7, 2017
Thank you. That was most illuminating.
Solo exhibition at COMA Gallery, Sydney, Australia
March 3 - April 3, 2017
THE HALL. STUDIO
Solo Exhibition at Mannerheim Gallery, Paris
October 19 – November 26, 2016
Dawn of the Zone
Solo Exhibition at China Art Objects, Los Angeles
September 17 – October 29, 2016
“(Complaining): It’s surprisingly beautiful in here”
Solo Exhibition at Johannes Vogt
May 3 – 29, 2016
"Nice Gestures" by Marisa Olson
Whether giving away "free ideas" in a city square, buying strangers dinner, or making idiosyncratic marks on canvas, much of Marc Horowitz's work can be described as "nice gestures." At times this term may refer to the hilarious social behavior exhibited in projects like “Mr. Nice Guy,” in which he walked around in a blazer embroidered with said phrase offering people mints and helping hands. At other times, Horowitz is gestural in his paintings that land somewhere between storytelling and absurd "what if"- positing.
Horowitz’s projects frequently maintain a night show flavor, while evolving into a Game of Life vibe. The resulting work has parlayed his “nice gestures” into synchronous bodies of painting/sculpture and photography/video work concerned with conjuring novelty items, inventing freakishly whimsical abstract tableaux, and generally adding a meta-layer of absurd observation to everyday practices. All in all, he manages to render seemingly peripheral life activities, like eating or running errands, humorous and beautiful in wholly unexpected ways.
Throwing confetti over a traffic jam of art historical traditions, Horowitz has crafted his own too-big-to-fail genre around the art of conspicuous consumption. Taking the age-old starting point of aesthetics as a sense experience, his work mutates the sensory into an inside joke for the world to share around the concept of “good taste.” Yet the man who could sell anything is more interested in freeness and has become an exhaustive trafficker of vernacular, if at times tacky, products. A fountain of positivity, Horowitz would never say that something is "so bad it's good." With him, everything is always celebrated as "so good it's great!"
Viewers of his work encounter a horizonless display of thrift store finds transformed into dime store monuments, like his recent pelican sculpture decapitated to sport a fish fillet sandwich as a mouth. Subscription magazines are frozen in blocks of ice in his sculptures and office plants get reworked into luscious foreground foliage in his paintings.
The longer we look, the one-liners become deeper worlds. We start to personally share in the consumption of this cornucopia of hokey objects and gestures. All the charisma, all the self-deprecating earnestness seeps in, and we are left oddly sated by the cozy level of human familiarity present in the lines Horowitz draws across artistic traditions and by the rich variety of materials he deploys. This crazy world starts to seem a little more crazy-awesome.
Perhaps this is why Horowitz is prone to lyrical titles, as when he makes a series of photographs of sculptural arrangements in which each is named after an episode of the hit TV series, Friends. His newest paintings are no exception to this rule, if not more noir, taking inspiration from science fiction screenplays. We enter narratives in medias res—as in, "The room is large and humid. A door opens." Taken out of context, the literary quality registers somewhere on the level of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but in a sense it is all the prompting we need to see the multilayered cause-and-effect action unfolding across the canvas. Painting, blurring, revision, and more painting accumulate almost like a dream recalled by a man heavily trained in the arts of Photoshop and performance. Either way, one gets the feeling this is just the beginning of something.
Other paintings take more obvious cues from Hollywood. In Silence... Then a powerful low organ. NOTE resounding in the cavernous space. BACK TO SCENE, he creates a work in which a fruit bowl hovers over an unplaceable mise-en-scène. Learning that the piece takes its title from 2001: A Space Odyssey casts the fruit bowl into the position of the monolith that signified moments of cultural shift throughout history in the film. Though static on the canvas, the longer one looks at it, this object symbolically moves from ancient Greece to the type of feminist ‘80s kitchen in which Horowitz grew up.
But then Horowitz is not necessarily a classicist. He is prone to giving us a crazy pop of color, perhaps a construction site hot pink; the red herring that is not a red herring. In the same vein, a painting like "Silence [....]" is undoubtedly tongue-in-cheek. The paintings are funny this way and Horowitz has obviously never shied away from being funny. "Kill the clown, but keep the comedian," the Letterman-devotee always says. Even as he slip-slides among media, he continues to play out the politically significant role of the jester in these vintage forms.
Of course, his stories are not always suggestive of rom-coms. I am not sure I want to know what happens next when I see a decollated female bust with a pecker-red Pinocchio nose floating in a scatologically dark, murky space, given the trigger-warning of a title, EXT. GARDEN DUSK; CAMERA HOLDS ON WOMAN as four armed POLICE officers approach.But then the greatest thing about jesters is that they are not only fearlessly funny, but they are the only people allowed (ordained!) to get away with criticizing the seat of power without being beheaded. If there is one thing throwing on a jacket emblazoned with the phrase, "Mr. Nice Guy" does, is, it sticks it to the suits.
Among the most powerful things that art can do is teach us empathy for humanity by finding new ways to picture the world, and that is exactly what Marc Horowitz does.
Interior, Day (A Door Opens)
PHILLIPS CONTEMPORARY ART NY EVENING SALE 14 MAY 2015
Book published by NERO. 2015
Website and cryptocurrency. 2015
The specific body of work that is up on marchorowitz.net is sold only through my cryptocurrency, hCoin, which is a reference to cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin. The value of hCoin is based solely on my levels of mood, productivity, and art sales. Anyone can visit the site, create an account, purchase my work, and participate in the project by mining or buying hCoin. The site has a secret portal to the deep web (a .onion site component) where a specific body of my paintings are available. https://www.marchorowitz.net
Media Performance. 2014
I taught an internet studio art class at USC. Fittingly, I was lecturing about appropriation and hijacking. A ton of people in class and online had been asking me if I was behind Dumb Starbucks, a mediocre coffee shop that popped up in a strip mall in Los Angeles last week, serving pastries and corporate parody.
In class, as an experiment and lesson, I posted a tweet and a Facebook post both reading "My project is causing quite a stir - lol," and linked to two news stories about Dumb Starbucks. It was amusing to see how fast and powerful the trajectory of this one tweet/Facebook post was. As bloggers sought answers, I was inserted into the media narrative and mentioned in articles on The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Defamer. It blurred authorship and caused confusion within the media hysteria. With this simple gesture, I was able to steer the global media discussion around Dumb Starbucks. I would even say it forced Nathan Fielder -- the Comedy Central star who was also using the prank to self-promote -- to reveal himself early.
Excerpt from "Moving: A Meditation" by Marisa Olson
The performance was commissioned to observe the relocation of Aran Cravey Gallery into bigger Hollywood digs, and it took place behind the locked doors of Cravey's original storefront space along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, where shoppers and befuddled tourists could only stop to peer-in at the 72-hour spectacle within. From their perspective, Moving might have looked like many of Horowitz's previous works: part performance, part installation, part hyper-documented film-shoot, and major part what-the-fuck?!
Moving takes place at an especially interstitial moment in the discourse of contemporary art, with regard to the nexus between dematerialization and rematerialization. --Between a rock and a hard place, the cheeky might say with regard to his chipping away! ... So much of the work registers in the mix as signifying layers, not unlike the material layers of the column, are culled together in a post-network-conscious way to form a web of meaning comprised of sonic tropes, color filter iconography, and pang-inducing voiceover nostalgia. . . a wedding cake that unites post-studio practice and the endurance spectacle of beating the shit out of a constitutionally pointless construction.
These Things Happen
Multimedia. Performance. 2012
For These Things Happen, I synthesized eleven tableaux in real-time, using actors, sculptures and sound tracks. I presented each tableau to a live audience only for a brief moment, four to 12 seconds each, similar to how the moment was originally experienced or conceptualized. That glimpse, then loss, then recuperation as the viewer enters a new shot/ tableau, was the overall effect. The real-time three-dimensional “edit” was accomplished by a series of lights that turned on and off, illuminating each tableau in a sequence of found, non-narrative tableaux; drawing disparate moments closer together, bridging multiple tableaux into one master tableau with an infinite number of vantage points.
Video. 2011 - 2012
Homer Simpson once cried because five seconds was too long to wait for a microwave to cook his food.
In these videos, the expectation of convenience is brought to a comedic extreme. The montage advances in a march of cropped narratives, leaving viewers with a blur of afterimages. One shot follows quickly on the heels of another; the viewer interprets at a slight delay. Time thus condenses into an all-at-onceness: a liminal space that bridges and aligns the past, present and future.
The Title is a Drawing II
Skirting the existential for the self-referential, "The Title is a Drawing" is a series of peripheral conversations between two dust clods. Like a stranger tripping on cracks in the sidewalk, the ad-hoc immediacy of this micro-performance stumbles and stutters towards near face plants. In a way, it feels as if one is witnessing a joke narrating its own ill-formed mitosis - the act of creation decidedly present as these characters weave speckled threads of dialogue along pubic hair suspension lines. À la Beavis and Butthead, the intended audience seems to only ever consist of 2; the rest of us just get to watch.
If necessary one can find truths in "half an Egg McMuffin and some soggy hash browns" (Patton Oswalt, "Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland").
Mr. Nice Guy
Multimedia. Performance. 2009
I was invited to show at FIAC in Paris. Rather than exhibit work, I dressed up in a tuxedo with the words “Mr. Nice Guy,” embroidered on the reverse of the jacket and went around the fair helping visitors, gallerists and workers.
Multimedia. Performance. 2009.
A device for making paintings with my body: I jumped onto a trampoline while an assistant plunged paint into a series of four tubes. While in mid-air, the paint hit my body just before I landed on a canvas. I gave the paintings to banks at no charge so they could sell them and use the money to bail themselves out of the fiscal crisis, thereby taking the burden off the taxpayers.
Google Maps Road Trip
Interactive Streaming Performance. 2009
Google Maps Road Trip was a live streaming documentary produced by Peter Baldes and I between August 10 and August 18, 2009. The event was the first live-streaming broadcast of a virtual cross-country road trip. Using streaming video technology and the ability to scroll through imagery using the arrow keys on Google Maps, Peter and I “virtually” drove from LA, CA to Richmond, VA, all the while never actually leaving our respective home towns. Other websites, such as flickr and youtube, were used to visually augment our journey for participants and viewers of a live chat room hosted through the project.
The concept of the “Viractual” is a theory created by Joseph Nechvatal that strives to “create an interface between the biological and the the technological.” Nechvatal understood the complexity of the hybrid relationship artists would forge between the computed (or virtual) and the corporeal (or actual, real-world) experience. This theory of Viractuality is central to the GMRT project. As artists, we were dealing in the realm of the virtual, but as performers, we were living in the actual experience.
The Signature Series
Multimedia. Performance. 2009
This series chronicled my journey across America as I drove along the shape of my signature. During the trip, I made 19 stops to improve the lives of the citizens I encountered.
The Center For Improved Living
Multimedia. Performance. 2007-2009
Visit the Center, improve your life. The Center for Improved Living is really less about Marc and more about you. He wants to talk to you. He really does. He believes he can help you and he knows you can help him. Your collaborative practice of the "art of conversation"; is what it's all about. The rest is just mise-en-scene. The props, objects, and ideas swirling about you are there to facilitate an exchange that is all about exchange--a mutually beneficial moment of laughter, provocation, problem-solving, and improved living.
Interactive Streaming Performance. 2008-2009
Talkshow 24/7 was a three-month long lifecast; a hybrid of entertainment and the banalities of everyday life. A virtual audience was able to participate in the performance via a live chat room and guests, ranging from porn directors to new media artists, were frequently a part of the “show.” (on ustream)
I was invited to participate with Analix Forever Gallery at the Bologna Art Fair. I selected 18 galleries that were also exhibiting at the fair and I made short commercials for their gallery, unbenounced to them until the opening of the fair. I played them on a loop at Analix’s booth at the fair.
National Dinner Tour
Multimedia, Performance. 2004
While on a photoset working for Crate & Barrel, I wrote “dinner w/ marc 510-872-7326” on a dry-erase board featured in a desk product shot. The catalog containing my dinner invitation was printed and sent to millions of people. The project became a viral media sensation and I received tens of thousands of calls from people wanting to dine with me. I traveled the US for a year having dinner with strangers.
Within the highly constructed and overly considered pages of a furniture catalog, I offered an escape hatch, a portal into another reality. In hindsight, the project recalls the trajectory of many tactical media projects and other public sphere initiatives employing or spoofing communications vehicles to enact social commentary--particularly in light of the string of talk show appearances triggered by the action and even my unexpected election as one of PeopleMagazine’s 50 Hottest Bachelors (Occupation: “Reality Hacker”). But in truth the project was the mushrooming result of a momentary comment on the desire to connect with others in the kind of polished, highly constructed, media-based world reflected in the pages of that catalog, or even that dry-erase board.
Errand Feasibility Study
Multimedia. Performance. 2005
I used a mule to do my errands as phase II of my Errand Feasibility Study. My studies determine that, if one truly desires to be spiritually fulfilled, errands need to be more than just a menial task.
Coffee in the Park
Multimedia. Performance. 2005
Every Saturday for an entire year, I daisy-chained 1500 ft of extension cord and strung it from my kitchen to Alamo Square Park (San Francisco), where I powered a coffee maker. I then handed out free coffee.
Hi (Neil Young)
Lawn Chairs. Outdoor Installation. 2004
I arranged 50 white plastic lawn chairs on the side of a hill that faced Neil Young's property to spell out the word “Hi”.
Sliv & Dulet
Multimedia. Performance. 2002-2003
Sliv & Dulet was a collaboration with Jon Brumit from 2002 - 2003. Assuming the identity of a small company, we took over New Langdon Arts in San Francisco for seven weeks in 2003. Our fully-staffed office included artists (posing as developers), who helped design and pitch several innovative products and services, including the Swiss Army Cubical, the Fog Removal Initiative and The full-service Office in a Tent.
For a separate venture, entitled Fantasy Junction, we parked our mobile (limousine) office in a gallery. Visitors took numbers and, when called, entered the limo for a short meeting with Brumit and me. They fielded our questions; we recreated their fantasies. Sometimes, we just sat there and smiled.
While living in corporate housing in Chicago, I developed an alter ego, Ville Nilla, a rapper that would roam the halls singing into a microphone attached to a portable amp while toting around a fake ficus tree.
the one minute show
Performance. Curated Gallery Exhibition. 2001
I put together a group exhibition where the art only hung for one minute.