Cheap Thrills is a dive into the world of conceptual art where only one form exists—the readymade. The readymade becomes art only when placed into an art context; it is art that never loses its previous identities and associations. This idea of taking something that already exists in the world and recontextualizing it lays the groundwork for a radical machine that produces the art, but nevertheless challenges its core definition. Cheap Thrills summons the rush we obtain in life, cherishing the dopamine erected by finding good deals and creating innovative solutions. A means of finding happiness at a low cost exists outside of mainstream society. While Pop and Conceptual art usually highlight popular brands such as Campbell’s Soup and Coca-Cola, what about dupes’ position in society? Cheap Thrills is an ode to and adoration of inexpensive brands and lower-class values. The artworks in the show take the readymades of dupes as a starting point to explore other portals of examination. By questioning value, and how people value one thing over another according to the morphology of marketing, whether it is a box of cereal, an artist’s signature, or a piece of wood, it will always be more popular based on the structure of brand marketing.
In a spirited manner, Cheap Thrills underlines historical references to Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. There is also a space for Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ideas. The work reflects play with language and how the visual and descriptive realities speak to each other. The artworks bring sly wit and the prickly sense of humor suggested by artists such as John Baldessari to invoke a critical voice through playfulness and surprise.
-Erykah Townsend and Alex Vlasov