Jordan Wolfson: Artists Friends Racists review

Art, Contemporary art Free
4 out of 5 stars
Jordan Wolfson: Artists Friends Racists review
Jack Hems

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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In possibly the most Jordan Wolfson move ever, the American artist has made a new work that might physically injure you if you get too close. Made up of spinning LED filaments – halfway between a cooling fan and a weed whacker – the whirling strands in front of you spit out endless holographic images, but they could slice off your hand too if you’re not careful.

The installation’s no less threatening from further away. The fans sync and unsync, displaying visions of animated love hearts and puppies, robot experiments, American police cars and 9/11 rescuers. Words come crashing down and split apart: ‘artists’, ‘friends’, ‘racists’, ‘anxiety’, ‘stress’. The fans hum loudly. It’s a tense, uncomfortable room.

Wolfson has blended memes, animation and contemporary angst about police surveillance, callout culture and the AI singularity into one, big, coagulated mess.

It’s nihilistic and negative. In a world that looks to art and artists for meaning, rebellion and progress in the face of growing right-wing extremism and a dying planet, this art is actively saying ‘so fucking what?’. He's showing you what it would be like to not care, to shrug at virtue signalling and identity and data and the media. He's showing you that nothing changes anyway.

The other works here are pictures of Wolfson as a child mounted on big brass plaques. He’s elevating his own cute childhood to the level of renaissance sainthood. Because he can.

Wolfson’s art might not be helpful, useful, or worthy, and it might not be trying to change the world, but it does a really good job of reflecting the world. It’s violent, snotty, uncomfortable, arrogant. That’s 2020 for you.


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