By Nate Lowman
An essay on the occasion of FUCK FRIENDS
an exhibition by LEO FITZPATRICK
at ASS, NEW YORK CITY, 2009
The title of this essay is stolen from the pages of a zine called “Leo listens to his body,” by Brian DeGraw and Dash Snow. It’s funny because Leo if from West Orange, New Jersey. Only a few copies of the zine exist and it’s just too long to print in this catalogue, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Anyways, this morning i received the following text message from Leo Fitzpatrick: “I think the art show is finally getting to me!last night i dreamt i lost all my hair.eye yi yi.” And later: “Let me tell you i’ve now seen what i look like with a comb over and it ain’t pretty.”
Usually when i wake up there are different messages in my yahoo inbox from Leo.
Like ten messages, each with five images attached. The messages arrive between 5am (when we part ways) and noon(ish), when I wake up. Often they punctuate whatever nonsense we had pontificated throughout the night–because we get deep, kid!
Yeah, right! No, seriously, “yeah right” is a genre. ‘yeah right” is also a verb. Like, “Are you yeah righting me right now?” But more on that later. Or not.
So anyways, I’m the guy who gets the benefit from Leo’s insomnia. Oh, and his generosity, too.
That’s like a big part of it and shit.
After the bar closes the internet will stay open and let you get as weird as you want. But it’s mostly about looking. I think it might have been intended for things like “reading”, “commerce”, “consumption”; communication, if you will (I won’t). And while you look, you are like engaging, but not really. And when you download a hundred images that only have a shadow of an “original context” you don’t have to digest them.
Leo is a master of indigestion (just ask him about his stomach).
So sharing is caring, right? And when we share images there is an interpersonal logic to it. Because I know YOU will TOTALLYLOVE this picture. Or maybe we are talking all night about how funny it is to fall down. Like at a kickboxing tournament, or skating a pool, or jumping off a fire escape with your mind clouded by ambien and beer because you just wanted to fall asleep after being in that taxi accident on the bowery when so+so go his face smashed and that 23 year-old cabbie lost his future for rear-ending a car full of Puerto Ricans (that fall wasn’t funny at first, but it sure as hell is now).
Then I wake up to some pictures of Jenna Bush on the floor of a bar, some vintage crime scene photos of people hanging, Tanya Harding, and so on.
So there’s all these images and tangents that make a chain of associations and we get to look at them and laugh at them and like understand them but most of all we get to build up a never ending canon of “yeah right!” images.
These images are language expressed. But it’s 2009. To us they are raw materials. Half a century or so ago, Charlie Parker recorded a song called “Scrapple from the Apple” and what I’m talking about is kinda like that. But not about being a poor, oppressed junkie-virtuoso in New York City. Something more fractured, less immediate, and less physical.
Speaking of “Physical”, enough about the age of authorless images. This is a book. About a show of collages, which are actually physical. Made from printed copies of things. Made by people who have rights. Like copyrights.
But check it out: we’re all like, “yea, right,” we can do whatever we want with anything we want because older, richer artists than us already won those battles in court and shit. And anyway, we’re totally changing them because they have more than a shadow of an original context and we have a whole new one and a lot of other stuff. Yep. Yeah. Right we are.
I know everyone whom Leo asked to collaborate for this exhibition. I love them and they are weirder than the internet.
And lastly I wanted to admit that the only reason i brought up the comb over text from this morning is because i’ve wanted to include this poem i wrote from the second you asked me to write for this book (which is really hard).
It’s kinda about you anyways, because you turned me on to poetry and a bunch of other shit. But seriously, dude, if you don’t like my “essay” or my “poem” it’s all good ’cause, like, whatever, fuck friends, right?
Artworks (in chronological order): Neck Face, Kon Trubkovich, Rita Ackermann, Joe Bradley, Andrew Kuo, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Adam McEwen, Brian DeGraw, Fuck This Life, Dan Colen, Spencer Sweeney, Agathe Snow, Nate Lowman, Tony Cox, Hanna Liden, Lizzi Bougatsos, Terence Koh, and Leo Fitzpatrick.
Leo Fitzpatrick (b. 1977) is an American artist, actor and curator. Fitzpatrick’s artwork has been widely exhibited over the last twenty years with a focus on collage and text-based paintings. As an actor, Fitzpatrick’s career began when he was discovered at age fourteen by director Larry Clark at Washington Square Park in New York City and was cast in the film “Kids.” As a curator, Fitzpatrick has mounted exhibitions at galleries such as Simon Lee, Marlborough, and Karma and he has also ran his own gallery spaces: Home Alone and Viewing Room, both in New York City.
Nate Lowman (b. 1979) deftly mines mass-produced images culled from art history, the news, and popular media, transforming visual signifiers from these distinct sources into a diverse body of paintings, sculptures, collages, prints, and installations. Since the early 2000s, Lowman has continually pushed the boundaries of language and object making with works that are at turns political, humorous, and poetic. Through his art—which dynamically explores themes of representation, celebrity, obsession, and violence—Lowman stages an encounter with commonplace, universally recognizable motifs, questioning and revisiting their intended meanings while creating new narratives in the process.