Black Star Press (rotated 90 degrees)

Artist: Kelley Walker
painting | Milk chocolate and dark chocolate on digital print on canvas | 2134x5284mm | 2005

With a computer and a flatbed scanner, Kelley Walker turns squirts of toothpaste into colorful abstractions, photographs objects such as cutout cereal boxes, and scans archival images for reproduction; he then uses Photoshop to layer his scanned images in superflat collages or to enlarge them to make equally flat sculptures. This digitally induced leveling serves to critique the way in which the proliferation of images causes them to lose their historical content, becoming literally two-dimensional. In Schema: Aquafresh plus Crest with Tartar Control (2003), toothpaste is scrawled across a news photograph taken during the 1960s of a police dog savagely attacking a black civil rights protester. Walker's layering of the once-shocking with the mundane causes these images to inform each other— tartar control takes on sinister undertones, while the apparent erasure of the infamous image causes us to see it afresh— so that neither can be exempted from its historicity.


Whitney Biennial 2006 | 2006.03.02 - 2006.05.28 | Whitney Museum of American Art (old museum)(New York City, NY, United States)