FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds at the Brooklyn Musuem

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds
Brooklyn Museum
July 10th – October 4th, 2015

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, 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 16½ feet high by 28¾ 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 is the Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil (born in 1975 in Edmonton, Alberta) and Patrick Miller (born in 1976 in Minneapolis, Minnesota). After meeting as teenagers in Arizona, they attended Northern Arizona University. They later both studied graphic design–Miller at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and McNeil at Fashion Institute of Technology. In the late 1990s, the duo reconnected and joined with Aiko Nakagawa (born in 1975 in Tokyo, Japan) to form FAILE: the name is an anagram of their first project, A Life. In 2006, Nakagawa began making work on her own as “Lady Aiko,” while McNeil and Miller continued pushing the limits of their imagery. They have since worked in a wide range of materials and styles and are best known for their prints, paintings, and mixed-media installations, which have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions. They have also completed major commissions for the New York City Ballet’s Art Series (2013); and for the Mongolian Arts Council, in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia (2012); as well the Houston and Bowery Mural, New York (2011); and the first commissioned mural on the building façade of Tate Modern, London (2008). Inspired by the visual tapestry of their Brooklyn environs, their work is characterized by a vibrant weaving of abstraction, mass culture, and commercial typography.

Bäst has been creating work for the past decade, both on the street and for gallery exhibitions. His work borrows from a range of popular-culture references and incorporates collage elements, often resulting in seemingly whimsical characters that reveal more menacing layers.

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds is organized by Sharon Matt Atkins, Vice Director of Exhibitions and Collections Management, Brooklyn Museum.

This exhibition is supported by Allouche Gallery, The Dean Collection, and Geoff Hargadon and Patricia LaValley.

Media Contact: Emily Liebowitz (718) 501-6354,

New FAILE Book and Show

FAILE: Works on Wood
Process, Paintings and Sculpture
Published by: Gestalten
Format: 9.5in. × 12in.
Features: Full color, hardcover, 320 pages
International Online Release: Ocotber 21st

FAILE: Works on Wood
November 15th – December 14th
Allouche Gallery
115 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012

Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller have worked in a wide range of materials and styles since the inception of FAILE in 1999. They are best known for their prints, paintings, and mixed-media installations, which have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. Inspired by American folk art and the visual tapestry of city walls, their work is characterized by a vibrant weaving of abstraction, mass culture, and commercial typography.

FAILE: Works on Wood is a new collection of essays and rich color photographs that showcases FAILE’s exploration of wood in their practice. It presents a broad swath of their projects from the past decade, from early work using salvaged material to more recent commissions, such as their towering installation at the New York City Ballet. The book features both critical writing and reflections by the artists on now iconic facets of their work in and out of the studio, including their interactive Puzzle Boxes, carved Prayer Wheels, and bold, large-scale painting.

Following Gestalten’s two bestsellers FAILE: Prints+Originals 1999–2009 and FAILE Temple, FAILE: Works on Wood features beautiful color reproductions and guides readers through the artists’ work with a versatile medium. In the process, the book shows that FAILE has evolved and adapted in dialogue with their materials, and will do so for years to come.

Upcoming Show

Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom
Galerie Hilger NEXT
July 2nd - September 6th 2014

In the summer of 2014 FAILE return to Europe with a new, multimedia set of works, Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom. While FAILE’s painting and sculpture have long played with fantastical characters and scenes, the new material that debuts at the Galerie Hilger NEXT on July 2nd delves into the uncanny realm of childhood memory, dreams, and exploration like never before.

Sometimes this is whimsical—many of the works depict familiar scenes of fairy-tales and mythology, re-imagined through FAILE’s system of juxtaposition and inversion. At other times—in the case of magazine-style centerfolds of tricked-out seventies muscle cars—FAILE invoke the near-talismanic objects of adolescent desire. Like the pop-artists that once inspired them, with Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom, FAILE zero-in on an icon of North American freedom during the 20th century, and the rich graphic culture that surrounded it, from uniforms and decals to posters and glossy magazines.

Formally, Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom is both an evolution and a departure from recent sculptural forms and assemblages with wood. Painting has long been at the core of FAILE’s practice, and here they take inspiration from the openness and simplicity of children’s drawings, emphasizing simplified but vibrant colors that underlie their screen-printing. While such an approach was pioneered by the Blue Rider Expressionists and Andy Warhol alike, FAILE’s work on paper adds a delicacy and chromatic intensity to this lineage. Of course, FAILE is well known for reinventing entire genres using their own rogues gallery of characters and typographies, and in Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom, they take on the graphic landscape of the racing world, envisioning “customized” new cars and presenting their logos as most teenagers would have seen them—sexy spreads attached to garage walls, or collectable patches to be sewn to jackets or driver’s gear.

Taken together, Fuel, Fantasy, Freedom’s works on wood, paper, and fabric are some of FAILE’s most personal to date, reflecting on multiple generations of family while creating an uncanny space of innocence and desire, and reveling in the freedom of the studio and the open road.

Upcoming Show at Summerhall Museum

Vestiage Board Paintings
Summerhall Musuem
August 1st - September 26th 2014

FAILE & BAST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade Edinburgh
Summerhall Musuem
August 1st - September 26th 2014

Beginning August 2nd, FAILE will present two exhibitions at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Art Festival.

The first, a new body of process based paintings titled Vestige Boards which explore the detritus of image and language through act of making art.

The second, a collaboration titled the FAILE & BAST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. The fourth installment of the fully immersive show, pays homage to the 1980’s arcade experience through specially created video games, pinball machines and psychedelic foosball. The aim, to make art less sterile, more fun and accessible to a broader audience, creating a space that is “a magical wonderland of weirdness and art.” Harkening back to the golden age of arcade games, contemporary punk rock and graffiti culture, this neon-laden, interactive and DIY-feeling installation takes the form of a classic video arcade.