Adam McEwen’s work resides somewhere between the celebratory and funereal. After writing obituaries for the Daily Telegraph in London, he began producing obituaries of living subjects such as Bill Clinton and Jeff Koons, highlighting the blurred line between history and fiction. In a reverse Midas-effect, McEwen has answered to the shimmering claims of Minimalist art by creating contemporary work that is freighted with the leaden melancholy of modern history. As a meditation on the many lives and deaths of art, he has created a space that conflates a beleaguered present with the afterlife of a potent and contentious moment in art history, in much the same way as his obituaries narrate the future-perfect of the rich, the famous, the beautiful, and the notorious. McEwen’s dead zone of dark relics and faded memories confronts us, literally and metaphysically, with the filthy lucre of our past and present.
Adam McEwen was born in 1965 in London, England. He received his B.A. in 1987 from Christ Church, Oxford, and then received his B.F.A. in 1991 from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. McEwen’s work has been shown in major exhibitions around the world, including “Axis of Praxis,” Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2006); “Into Me/Out of Me,” P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2006); “Beg, Borrow and Steal,” Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2009); “The Reach of Realism,” Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2009); “Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010, traveled to Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain); “The Last Newspaper,” New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2010); “America Is Hard to See,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); and “Progressive Praxis,” de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami (2016). McEwen’s work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions include The McAllister Institute, New York (2003); The Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas (2012); The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2013); Museo Civico Diocesano di Santa Maria dei Servi, Città della Piene (2015); “Tinnitus,” The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2016); and “Adam McEwen: I Think I'm in Love,” Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2017). McEwen’s works are in the public collections of the Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Scotland; Jumex Collection, Mexico City; de la Cruz Collection, Miami; and Arts Council Collection, England.
McEwen has curated various projects and exhibitions, including “Power, Corruption and Lies,” (with Neville Wakefield; Roth Horowitz, New York, 2004); “Interstate” (Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, 2005); and “Beneath the Underdog” (with Nate Lowman; Gagosian Gallery, 2007). In 2010, he curated “Fresh Hell” at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, as the 2010 edition of the Carte Blanche series.
McEwen currently lives and works in New York City.
Bustes de Femmes
Paris 10th Anniversary Exhibition
October 10–December 18, 2020
4 rue de Ponthieu, Paris
Extended through September 17, 2016
A group exhibition of text-based works
June 1–September 17, 2016
4 rue de Ponthieu, Paris
40th Anniversary Benefit Art Auction
June 8–22, 2021
Bomb magazine presents an auction in celebration of its fortieth anniversary, in advance of its annual gala to be held in New York in October 2021, where art luminaries including Walton Ford and Linda Goode Bryant will be honored. The auction benefits Bomb, a nonprofit that has been publishing conversations between artists of all disciplines since 1981. This year’s auction, hosted on Artsy, features work by nearly fifty artists including Adam McEwen, Richard Prince, and David Reed. To register to bid, visit artsy.net.
David Reed, Color Study #6, 2017 © David Reed
November 30, 2020–January 31, 2021
Gagosian is pleased to announce The Future, the sixth in a series of annual thematic exhibitions presented by Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch during Art Basel Miami Beach. Previously staged at the historic Moore Building in the Miami Design District, this year the collaborative project will be hosted on a new stand-alone website.
Ed Ruscha, The Future, 1999 © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Jeff McLane
Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
In this episode of the Brooklyn Rail’s New Social Environment online conversation series, Adam McEwen joins host and Rail editor-at-large Thyrza Nichols Goodeve to discuss the connection between writing obituaries for the Daily Telegraph and his practice centered on “a space that conflates a beleaguered present with the afterlife of a potent and contentious moment in art history.” The conversation is closed by poet Chris Martin.
Still from “New Social Environments: Adam McEwen and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve”
Works from the Brant Foundation
November 13, 2019–September 3, 2020
Brant Foundation, New York
Bringing together more than twenty artists integral to the Brant Foundation’s collection, this exhibition offers a glimpse into the multifaceted practices of artists whose work Peter M. Brant has collected over the past fifty years. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Urs Fischer, Mike Kelley, Adam McEwen, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, and Franz West is included.
Installation view, Third Dimension: Works from the Brant Foundation, Brant Foundation, New York, November 13, 2019–September 3, 2020. Artwork, front to back: © Urs Fischer, © Dan Flavin
The Transported Man
April 29–October 22, 2017
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is pleased to announce its debut exhibition curated by director Marc-Olivier Wahler. The Transported Man spans the entire museum and features more than fifty renowned and emerging artists whose work relies on the notion of belief. Work by Walter De Maria, Urs Fischer, and Adam McEwen is included.
Urs Fischer, Untitled, 2015. Photo by Mats Nordman
99 Cents or Less
May 19–August 6, 2017
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
A major group exhibition of ninety-nine artists based in the United States addresses Detroit’s ongoing economic crisis and its 2013 bankruptcy. Four years after a federal judge approved Detroit’s bankruptcy-exit plan, the city’s financial present and future are still in flux. This exhibition is a reflection on the realities of a city that was once one of the country’s wealthiest and most diverse. Work by Piero Golia, Alex Israel, Adam McEwen, Josephine Meckseper, and Sterling Ruby is included.
Sterling Ruby, 99/MK, 2017. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer
I Think I’m in Love
January 13–June 4, 2017
Aspen Art Museum, Colorado
Adam McEwen is known for works that engage viewers with a dark yet poignant sense of humor. His recent sculptural works include a life-size coffin-carrier fabricated from solid graphite and deployed air bags cast in concrete. This exhibition marks the artist’s first solo museum show in the United States. He was the Aspen Art Museum’s 2016–17 Distinguished Artist in Residence.
Photo by Tony Prikryl