California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, 1991
BA, English Literature, Christ Church, Oxford, England, 1987
Adam McEwen appropriates vernacular forms, from text messages and obituaries to everyday consumer objects, manipulating familiar items and repurposing them in new, unexpected contexts. A former obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph, McEwen creates morbidly humorous works that often address the celebrity-driven nature of the media and its broad impact on contemporary culture, as in his series of enlarged, wall-mounted mock-obituaries of living celebrities such as Jeff Koons, Bill Clinton, and Kate Moss. As the artist has stated, “I’m interested in that brief second when you aren’t sure whether Bill Clinton is alive or dead. I only need that moment in order to disorient them enough to sneak through to some other part of the brain—to achieve that split second of turning the world upside down.” Likewise, his monochromatic paintings adorned with gobs of dirty, chewed gum, which reference German cities bombed in World War II, are simultaneously melancholic and comically absurd, referencing the tradition of expressionist painting through the mundane detritus of urban life. Similarly ambiguous are his graphite sculptures, detailed replicas of common objects, such as ATM machines, food packaging, and air conditioners, which recall the funereal solemnity of memorials.
McEwen’s work has been exhibited in museums and institutions worldwide, at venues such as the New Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hessel Museum at Bard College, the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, the Whitney Museum, MoMA PS1, and the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, and was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. In 2010, he curated the exhibition Fresh Hell at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. McEwen has had recent solo shows at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, Texas and the National Exemplar Gallery in New York, New York.
Adam McEwen Gallery Art
Art:Concept, Paris, France
Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
The Rosenblum Collection, Paris, France
Collection Lambert Avignon, Avignon, France
The Jumex Collection, México City, Mexico
Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany
The Farook Collection, Dubai, U.A.E.
Arts Council of England, London, England
Centre Pompidou - Musée national d'art moderne, Paris, France