Saturday, November 13, 2010

I AM ME and YOU ARE YOU and NEITHER OF US IS HAPPY..

ARTIST: DAVID KRAMER

We live in this time where everything is in the present tense. Memories are simply the source materials for "tonight's act." Any film clip or historical document can be summoned by surfing the web, and entire TV networks are devised to trot out re-runs of Westerns and cartoons, all juxtaposed against the backdrop of people downloading what just happened, off of their telephones for public consumption. Through this, I am a storyteller. An archivist and an entertainer. And most importantly an artist. My job is to use all of this source material, and run it through the prism of my own life and create a moment. To make an experience for the audience to experience. Laughter and the wry smile are my payoff. The work works best when I get these same results every time the audience comes back for more. I use the familiar, and cram my own self into it to see how it fits. Then I parade around to show off how badly it usually does. For the most part, I dispense with naming names. I like it that people get the idea without them. People seem to get what I am talking about without them. But sometimes the name is the crucial ingredient.

Which reminds me of a story…—David Kramer, New York City, 2010























Using his own life as source material for his art, Kramer is the consummate storyteller. But like a movie star who we recognize from the roles that they play, and the stories we read in the tabloids, there is a disconnection between the man himself and the stage persona he has created. The character presented in his artwork is both an idealized and vilified version of himself, with the truth often stretched in service of the story.

Kramer's experiences become the universal struggle of the everyman for greatness. He gets up and goes to work every day. He is married with a son. He struggles to make ends meet. And he often takes comfort at the end of the day in a bottle. The imagery in his work is culled from 1970s print advertising. Hot girls and big cars are symbols of having arrived. Cowboys are metaphors for the lonely and hardscrabble life of the artist. Modernist architecture creates space for better living. Cigarettes are eternally cool and represent an irrational love for things that may destroy us. Re-inscribing romanticized and highly stylized versions of the American Dream, Kramer explores our desire for halcyon days and the hangover of disappointment with a razor sharp wit.—Sarah Murkett

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