On 10 January 2015, Mary Boone Gallery, in cooperation with Metro Pictures, will open at its Chelsea location Here in the Real World, an exhibition curated by Piper Marshall of works by JOHN MILLER. The game show, a television programming genre begun in the 1930’s, has become an American ritual, one where contestants answer questions or impersonate themselves in exchange for prizes or money. It is also something of an economic anomaly. One reason may be that the trade-off between self-presentation under stress and the reward for that drama is not completely rational, or at least not commensurable.
The exhibition Here in the Real World features Miller’s game show paintings (begun in 1995) and his more recent series of reality TV personalities (started 2012). In each series of paintings, Miller selects images of people in purportedly uncontrived poses and paints them in a Realist manner.
These images of unwittingly photographed contestants refer to what Miller terms “presentation of self” that occurs in the public sphere. Miller’s Game Show Paintings anticipate the packaging of real life that emerged with the ascendancy of reality TV and social media. These paintings present either impossibly jubilant contestants or the empty stage sets for popular shows such as The Price is Right or Let’s Make a Deal. Miller’s reality TV paintings are the continuation of this project. Just like the game show, reality shows rely on a “concept”. They focus on the ostensibly private or intimate moments (broadcast or streamed to the audience) in which cast members, usually alone, breakdown and cry in front of the camera. In reality TV, producers shift the production of content from everyday people to those whose aim is to become stars in social media. Both genres of television programming often involve unspoken obligations exacted in terms that are mutually understood but nonetheless not completely accountable: emotional, social, hierarchical.
John Miller is a celebrated artist, writer, teacher and musician, whose work has both utilized and undermined the rigid strategies of conceptual art since the early 1980s. This exhibition, and a concurrent exhibition at Metro Pictures, reconsiders his investigation into the blurred distinction between art and reality and the absorption of art into the everyday.
Artist: John Miller
Venue: Mary Boone, New York
Exhibition Title: Here in the Real World
Curated by: Piper Marshall
Date: January 10 – February 28, 2015
Text (press release) and images, provided by the event.
© Mary Boone Gallery and Metro Pictures, New York