As the international community ﬂocks to London for Frieze, Shizaru
hosts BAD FOR YOU, an exhibition curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody featuring sixty-eight contemporary and established artists primarily from America. Taking inspiration from its eponymous title, BAD FOR YOU highlights the unwavering relationship between art and vice, displaying the human relationship with what is ʻbadʼ through issues like self destruction, drugs, alcoholism, gambling, materialism, vanity, and cigarettes. A title that is at once humorous and grim the exhibition avoids judgment, allowing the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
Artists explore these many themes through various moralistic viewpoints. Some works celebrate, disregard and revel in what is seen as being ʻBadʼ whilst others raise alarm and aim to forewarn the consequence of a life of decadence. Artists celebrate the excitement of experimentation, and the pleasure that comes with doing what is ʻBad for Youʼ such as Fred Tomaselli, who revels in his chosen vice; drugs, by making decorative patterns out of marijuana leaves and Liz Markus, whose humorously titled Fuck it evokes the carefree attitude of doing it anyway. These words written on raw canvas next to a whiskey bottle depicts that vertiginous moment, when one decides to carelessly down the rest of the bottle.
Many works explore human desire and the thrills that tempt us to rebel. The glitzy plethora of fortune is presented by Tony Oursler in his video installation "Bedazzled, Set for Life, Funky $5, Mother's Day, Welcome to Vegas" which captures a stack of various gambling scratch-off cards, alluding to the temptations that can lure one into a rip of false promise.
Some works aim to expose the fate and repercussions of living a life without restraint. Marilyn Minterʼs Ball Spitter, for example, makes a cynical comment on fashion and suggests a grotesque vanity that comes with the fashion world and Cindy Shermanʼs work, Untitled, is equally moralistic as she presents pregnancy as a vulgar consequence of sex. The photographs from Larry Clarkʼs seminal Tulsa series is equally alarming, with photographs of seemingly wholesome teenagers from the midwest shooting heroin and playing with guns, displaying in stark black and white the perpetual need for destructive indulgence.
Curator Beth Rudin DeWoody recognizes the mounting excitement for the exhibition and its viewers and states, ʻI am fascinated by artists' interpretation of 'things that are Bad for you. Over the years as a collector, I have always been drawn to work that depicts or represents what I try to avoid in life. In a way, my bad side lives vicariously through the art.ʼ
Born in New York, gallery director Simon Sakhai, is delighted to showcase Americaʼs exceptional creative scene. ʻBeth's impressive eye has provided a museum-grade opportunity to discover some of the best art from America. With the countryʼs most established names exhibiting alongside its most promising talent, rarely has London had the opportunity for such an illuminating survey of art from across the pond.ʼ
BAD FOR YOU, exposes the lurid, gritty, fearful, dangerous, addictive and destructive and reminds us of the terrible things we as humans are capable of doing to ourselves and/or to each other.
Alongside the exhibition, Shizaru Gallery will host BAD FOR ME, a special pop-up store from New Yorkʼs newest concept gallery GREY AREA. Co-founder and Creative Director, Kyle Dewoody describes her inspiration for the store; ʻIn response to BAD FOR YOU, we decided to create a shop of consumable art objects titled BAD FOR ME. Following the theme of the vice made nice, all the pieces tackle a different instrument of iniquity making them seductive, amusing or even wearable. Pills, guns, blood, and cigarettes; you name it we have it.