Faile: Savage/Sacred Young MindsMonday, August 10, 2015
Part arcade, part funhouse, part display of genius, the exhibition Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds at the Brooklyn Museum is a joy and an inspiration to experience. In one part of the exhibition, the Brooklyn-based duo, Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, put up a black room plastered floor to ceiling with neon renderings of their art, surrounding two day-glo foosball machines that were constantly occupied by players. Faile also brought in "The Faile Bäst Deluxx Fluxx Arcade 2010", which is just as much a hit here in New York as it was in its previous incarnations in London and at Miami Art Basel. In a room splashed with black and white Faile and Bäst screenprints, arcade games and pinball machines allow the audience to fully interact with the art.
With so much visual stimuli, it's easy to miss things, but because I spent some time engrossed in a pinball game, I got to appreciate the assemblage of details Faile slips into that piece: Art Deco flourishes, sly S&M references, and even an allusion to the 1986 Challenger launch and crash.
While the arcade is highly entertaining, the most striking piece of the exhibition is the Temple, created in 2010 for the Portugal Arte 10 Festival. Mimicking the ruins of an ancient house of worship, Temple amalgamates the religious past with the secular present to reimagine modern-day mythology. Traditional and modern are juxtaposed in ways that will make your head spin: for instance, a ceramic wall relief with a Madonna and Child-esque silhouette reveals itself to be, upon closer inspection, a Manga character consorting with rotund Chinese men as a Buddha laughs in the background. Mosaic reliefs feature unlikely Native American motifs while prayer wheels are carved with references to Brooklyn.
My favorites were uncontroversial but visually arresting: the marble sculpture of skater girl dubbed Fantasy Island and a series of slashed canvas-style pieces. Can you imagine having these grace your home? Only in my dream of dreams ...
Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds is a great exhibit for families and groups of friends, as it is very accessible and highly entertaining. At the same art like this provokes curiosity and inquiry - hopefully among the next generation of young minds.
Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds is on view at the Brooklyn Museum until October 4, 2015.
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