Combining industrial packaging, raw canvas, spray paint, and commercial printing and labeling techniques, New York-based artist, Chris Dacs questions the meaning of art collecting as it relates to the mass commodification of the contemporary art scene. Patrick Rolandelli reviews Dacs's recent salon at the James Richards Gallery ("Packaged Paintings - Series #1," November 16 - December 15, 2017).
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It wasn’t the first art salon hosted at the James Richards Gallery—a penthouse apartment cum art gallery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—but it very well may have been the most thought-provoking to date.
Imagine walking into a New York City apartment to be immediately confronted by what look like a row of oversized retail pegboard hooks protruding from the wall ahead of you. Hanging from them: These oversized cellophane packages. Inside the cellophane: Paintings?
You read what’s printed on the cardboard hang tabs overhead: CHICKENEAR. NIKE DUDE. TEX TEX. BUDDAZZLER. The experience is as confusing as it seems familiar. You vaguely recall the cognitive dissonance you felt as a child at the toy store, staring at objects of desire ensconced in layers of what you would later come to understand as marketing.
On November 16, 2017, the James Richards Gallery featured Chris Dacs’s Packaged Paintings – Series #1, the first in a series of work about the art world, art collecting, and what these things could mean to a generation that grew up all too cognizant of the consumer culture they inhabit.
During the salon, observing how the millennial audience around him was processing the experience, Chris became anxious and withdrawn. He knew his work was fielding a cynical perspective among them. He knew they got the joke. He just worried whether it was relevant to their overstimulated yuppie lives.