This exhibition marks the first New York museum presentation of work by Los Angeles–based artist Kaari Upson (b. 1972, San Bernardino, CA).
Kaari Upson, Untitled (1000 cans), 2015. Aluminum, 1,000 parts, each 5 × 2 1/4 in (12.7 × 5.7 cm). © Kaari Upson. Courtesy the artist, Massimo De Carlo, and Sprüth Magers. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, and video, Upson’s works track open-ended, circuitous narratives that weave elements of fantasy, physical and psychological trauma, and the often-fraught pursuit of an American ideal. A decade ago, Upson immersed herself in what became perhaps her best-known project, which began with her visit to the site of a burned-down house. For the prodigious The Larry Project (2005–ongoing), she unearthed a well of projected histories, images, and artifacts inspired by forgotten fragments from the abandoned personal archive of a man whom she had never met. Upson has continued this near-obsessive forensic approach in subsequent projects, such as MMDP (My Mother Drinks Pepsi) (2014–ongoing), a series of videos and sculptures of fossil-like, aluminum-casted Pepsi cans based on the interdependent relationship between herself and her mother, and informed by commodity culture. For her exhibition at the New Museum, Upson debuts a new series of works that center around a family living in a tract house in Las Vegas. The series will explore an environment characterized by its architectural mirroring, yet haunted by the psychological tensions inherent in striving toward an imaginary perfect double. This exhibition is curated by Margot Norton, Associate Curator, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication.
Kaari Upson was born in 1972 in San Bernardino, California, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Her works have recently been included in the group exhibitions “Adhesive Products,” Bergen Kunsthall (2016); “The Los Angeles Project,” Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2016); “Sleepless: The Bed in History and Contemporary Art,” 21er Haus, Vienna (2015); “No Man’s Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection,” Miami (2015); “Test Pattern,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2013); and “The Residue of Memory,” Aspen Art Museum (2012).