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.
Extended through September 17, 2016
A group exhibition of text-based works
June 1–September 17, 2016
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”
Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
Monday, June 22, 2020, 1pm EDT
Adam McEwen will speak with writer Thyrza Nichols Goodeve as part of the Brooklyn Rail’s Daily Social Environment series. The pair will discuss McEwen’s practice within the context of art-making today, including his film Escape from New York (2014) and fictional obituaries of living people. To register for the online event, visit brooklynrail.org.
Escape from New York, which captures the monotonous, almost hypnotic experience of speeding outbound through the four major tunnels in the island of Manhattan, is currently on view through the windows of Gagosian, Park & 75, New York.
Photo: Aubrey Mayer
Alternate Meanings in Film and Video
You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
Gagosian is pleased to present Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video, an online exhibition of artists’ films and videos viewable exclusively on gagosian.com. The exhibition will be organized into a series of “chapters,” each lasting two weeks. The first chapter begins on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now, taking the words of famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary as its starting point.
Adam McEwen, Escape from New York, 2014 (still from “Battery Tunnel”) © Adam McEwen
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