After nearly 30 museum and gallery shows in cities worldwide, and more than a decade working in various mediums, Jordan Wolfson makes his splashy debut at David Zwirner. Starting out, he mostly relied upon broadly pop-cultural or Hollywood-themed material, but then around 2009, he shifted to more provocative, psychosexually charged content, which he continues to explore in this exhibition—most notably with a showstopping audio-animatronic sculpture that’s a bad dream come to life.
Visitors are greeted by a sofa-filled lounge hung with four photomontages. Sparse yet oddly suffocating, the room serves as a sort of waiting area for the animatronic installation, which, sealed within its own soundproof gallery, can be entered only by appointment (there’s a long waiting list). In the meantime, you can peruse the photo pieces, in which sophomoric bumper stickers (socrates was an asshole) are plastered over magazine images.
A back room hosts Wolfson’s 2012 animated video, Raspberry Poser. The piece winds through parts of L.A., Paris and New York, as the artist’s cartoon doppelgänger communes with pornographic drawings, candy-heart-filled condoms and CGI-rendered images of HIV.
Overshadowing everything else, however, is the sculpture: a robotic witch-mask-wearing female stripper, inspired by the character Holli Would from Ralph Bakshi’s 1992 film, Cool World. Gyrating suggestively before a large mirror to a soundtrack of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and a slowed-down version of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” this nightmarish apparition occasionally stops dancing to deliver rambling monologues in Wolfson’s own voice. Uncanny, terrifying, impervious to interpretation and absolutely unlike anything else currently on view, she takes viewers on a dystopian voyage into the art world of tomorrow.