In a sensational review by the Huffington Post’s Annabel Osberg, the Clayton Brothers’ current exhibition, “Open to the Public,” was declared “ingenious” and “strangely charismatic,” among other remarkable descriptions.
The entire show was inspired by Sun Thrift, a thrift store in Sunland near their studio. The Claytons first went to the store about three or four years ago. Amazed by the people and objects they would find there, they eventually came to visit the store about three times a week, documenting their forays by recording videos, taking photographs, and accumulating miscellaneous items.
Rob said that this was the most difficult show that they had ever installed, because there were so many pieces to display, and they wanted the overall exhibition to “support the energy of the thrift store.” They succeeded remarkably. Entering a large thrift store is exciting yet overwhelming; one never knows what one might find, but there are so many items to look over. In “Open to the Public,” the Claytons captured this overwhelming sense of stimulation, channeling it into the gallery space through ingenious installation design and sheer quantity of work.
Throughout the main gallery, eccentric tableaux and assemblages of found objects are interspersed with two-dimensional works, most of which are displayed in unorthodox ways that heighten their thrift-store-find sensibility. Drawings and cutouts are encased in vitrine-like frames, often accompanied by ironic artifacts such as price tags. Some of these frames are hung next to each other with no space between, in groups forming irregular shapes. Others are attached to poles on the floor as if they were children’s writing desks or informative placards. The motley arrangements of artworks affect an impression of serendipity within contained randomness, similar to second-hand store merchandising.
The exhibition’s color scheme is gaudy and disjunctive like the colors of a thrift store’s multiplicity of objects. The Claytons’ palette is skillfully mismatched in a tongue-in-cheek nod to the untrained chromatic discord of paintings found in secondhand stores. Even the gallery walls, frames, and pedestals are painted in off-key chintzy colors whose disharmony is strangely charismatic.
To read the full-length review, please click here; it is not to be missed! “Open to the Public” remains on view through September 27, 2014.