Direct Drive is the first solo American museum exhibition by acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Kelley Walker. Since the early 2000s, the Georgia-born, New York-based artist has developed a multifaceted body of work that examines and indicts some of our nation’s most pervasive cultural, political, and social signifiers. Not only is Direct Drive the largest comprehensive examination of the artist’s work to date, it includes several new bodies of work made specifically for the exhibition. A flagship event for CAM, Direct Drive encompasses every space in the Museum—galleries, Project Wall, courtyard, and mezzanine, as well as the facade of the building.
Walker brings to the fore a sustained inquiry into ways in which consumer culture exploits history, authenticity, and authorship. He manipulates imagery, encouraging slippage—even in reproductions of his own artworks. With nods to artistic influences ranging from Andy Warhol to Jackson Pollock and Sigmar Polke, Walker’s work interrogates the ways a single image can migrate into a number of cultural contexts. He often uses 3-D modeling software and laser cutting in tandem with a variety of media—including painting, sculpture, and photography—to explore the manipulation and repurposing of images in order to destabilize issues of identity, race, class, sexuality, and politics.
Among the brand-new work presented in Direct Drive is a “mimic wall” sculpture—an exact replica of a Museum wall—that manifests in the physical world the digital concept of copying and pasting; a forty-foot long brick painting based on the gray concrete of the Museum; a four-foot-wide chocolate disco ball that continually turns at six rotations per minute; and an exterior projection for CAM’s “Street Views” series. In conjunction with Direct Drive, CAM will publish an exhibition catalog and Black Star Press, a publication focused on issues of race and identity in Walker’s work.
This exhibition is generously supported by Anonymous; Suzi and Andrew B. Cohen; Maurice Marciano Family Foundation; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Thomas Dane Gallery, London; and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne.
Kelley Walker: Direct Drive is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Jeffrey Uslip, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs/Chief Curator.
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