Daniel Joseph Martinez "I want to go to Detroit; cheerleaders CHEER"

Simon Preston Gallery

poster for Daniel Joseph Martinez "I want to go to Detroit; cheerleaders CHEER"

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Simon Preston Gallery presents I want to go to Detroit; cheerleaders CHEER, an exhibition of photographs by Los Angeles-based artist Daniel Joseph Martinez.

For the past thirty years, Martinez has employed a complex artistic vocabulary including sculpture, text, animatronics, painting and photography, in order to address contemporary and historical socio-political realities. For the first time in New York, Martinez will exhibit the two bodies of work he produced in 1978/79, each documenting the artists’ investigations of bodybuilding and beauty pageant culture during a critical period of Southern California history.

The thirteen Body Builder images—collectively entitled I used to eat lemon meringue pie till I overloaded my pancreas with sugar and passed out; It seemed to be a natural response to a society of abundance—are vertical, black-and-white photographs of male bodybuilders, each one a single confrontational portrait with the figure standing in the middle of the frame against a white backdrop. Each man flexes for the camera, hoping for the best shot to display his hard-earned physique. Likewise, the fifteen horizontal Beauty Pageant photos, named as a series I always wanted the ears of Buddha, the will of Nietzsche and the body of Mishima, are also portraits of women participating in an equivalent type of gendered competition of physical attributes. In contrast to the antagonism of the body builders, the candid pageant shots reveal vulnerable back-stage moments, the divergence raising questions of gender archetypes and social order.

Martinez uses methods of representation and the formal production of documentary photography to critique the way images participate in the construction of a certain kind of reality. In addition to a prescient quality in depicting this extreme human behavior, the images perch precariously on a trajectory borne from Darwin's notions of evolution and pointing towards the now common use of technology for the manipulation of the body in both form and image.

This exhibition was originally conceived and exhibited as part of PST, Pacific Standard Time at LA>< ART in Los Angeles in February this year, sponsored by The Getty Museum.



from September 12, 2012 to October 28, 2012

Opening Reception on 2012-09-12 from 18:00 to 20:00

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