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Santa Monica Museum of Art presents "Marco Rios: Anatomy of an Absent Artist"
Marco Rios, still from "Second Later," 2013, Courtesy of the artist.
SANTA MONICA, CA.- Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Marco Rios: Anatomy of an Absent Artist, on view from June 1 to August 17, 2013 in the Museum’s Project Room 2. The exhibition is inspired by three midcentury cinematic portrayals of "artists" who lead double lives—their public artistic personas at odds with their secret identities. With his signature theatricality and penchant for noir, Rios has produced three artworks in three different media: film, sculpture and photography. In this exhibition, Rios enacts the narratives from Roger Corman’s film A Bucket of Blood (1959), John Frankenheimer’s film Seconds (1966), and Perry Mason's TV episode “The Case of the Absent Artist” (1962), reinterpreting the fictional “masterpieces” that propel these three stories.

In Frankenheimer’s Seconds, the title character fakes his own death, and, through elaborate reconstructive surgery, assumes a new identity as an artist living in Malibu. Casting himself as the title character, Rios employs devices such as prostheses to allegorize the physical and conceptual process of transformation. Perry Mason’s “The Case of the Absent Artist” centers on a successful comic strip artist who intends to abandon his commercial life and relocate to Majorca to concentrate on his "real" art, but is brutally murdered the night before his departure. Rios recreates the main character's painting titled, "A Day's Catch" as a photographic self-portrait on the shores of Majorca. Finally, the protagonist in Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood, attempting to create his first celebrated “masterpiece,” accidentally stabs his landlady’s cat. He conceals the carcass in plaster, creating a Hans Arp-like, entombed white modernist form. Rios reimagines the sculpture as a macabre, yet modernist, taxidermy, pierced by a large knife and rendered in sleek silver electroplate. Using these three fictional narratives as source material, Rios re-imagines each of the main character’s aesthetic creations and collapses the cinematic, the artistic and the biographical in fiction and reality.

Marco Rios was born in 1975 and lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design and his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His recent exhibitions have been presented at Simon Preston, New York; LAXART, Los Angeles; and, with Kara Tanaka, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. He was also included in Let Them Eat LACMA at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, This is Killing Me at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, and the 2008 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach.

Marco Rios: Anatomy of an Absent Artist is organized by Jeffrey Uslip, curator-at-large for the Santa Monica Museum of Art.



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