Brooklyn Museum Presents FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, Including Two Major Installations by FAILE; Exhibition to Open July 10, 2015
The Brooklyn Museum will present FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, including two major installations by FAILE, a collaboration between the Brooklyn-based artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, from July 10 through October 4, 2015. The exhibition includes Temple and The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade— two immersive environments that invite visitors to engage actively with the work, prompting viewers to ask questions about their relationship to consumer culture, religious traditions, and the urban environment.
Since 1999, McNeil and Miller have created multimedia installations, large-scale paintings, and sculptures that blur the lines between fine art, street art, and popular culture. The exhibition unites The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade and Temple, both from 2010, alongside new paintings and sculptures that highlight FAILE’s evolving practice. Drawing on a long art-historical tradition of appropriation, both as an homage to their sources and as subversions of stereotypes, these works are inspired by material as varied as American quilts, folk art, Native American art, religious architecture, pulp magazines of the mid-twentieth century, comic books, sci-fi movie posters, adult entertainment advertisements, and storefront typography.
The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade, created in collaboration with the Brooklyn artist Bäst, is an interactive installation that includes retrofitted video games, pinball machines, and foosball tables that are simultaneously sculptures and functioning games. A nostalgic nod to video arcades as well as to punk rock and graffiti culture, this is the fifth iteration of the project and the first time it will be installed in a museum context, following earlier versions in London, New York, Miami, and Edinburgh. Featuring the artists’ signature characters and imagery, these programmed games are twists on classic examples such as wrestling matches, road races, water-based challenges, tile-matching puzzles, and audio-visual manipulations.
FAILE’s Temple, originally installed in Praça dos Restauradores Square in Lisbon for the Portugal Arte 10 Festival, is reminiscent of religious architecture that has fallen into ruin. Temple is fabricated with components such as iron gating, ceramic relief work, and painted ceramics. Measuring 16 ½ feet high by 28 ½ feet long by 16 feet wide, Temple will be installed in the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, a large rotunda space. The life-size work features FAILE’s customized prayer wheels inspired by Tibetan Buddhist structures, vernacular imagery culled from Brooklyn streets, and popular-culture sources. The interior imagery of Native American figures, borrowed from mid-twentieth-century movie and comic book sources, imagines a reaction against commercial development and consumer greed with a return to traditional values. Blurring the boundary between art and architecture, Temple amplifies the fluid integration of visual culture and the built environment in FAILE’s art.
For this exhibition, the artists have also created several new works. Among them are two triptychs, both mural-size paintings created in their “ripped canvas” style. Inspired by the gritty, worn layering of street posters, these canvases, with their surface gaps, simultaneously reveal and conceal subject and meaning.
FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds is organized by Sharon Matt Atkins, Vice Director for Exhibitions and Collections Management, Brooklyn Museum.