Distinctions between highbrow and lowbrow have led many artists to direct their work toward either art world academia or the general public. Does it have to be one or the other? Nope. Take local artists Chris Corriente and Laura Hyunjhee Kim. From art world drama and social networking to economic concerns, they make artwork using the language of popular culture and familiar components of modern existence.
A collaborative piece, part of their exhibit [ul+ure [l@sh (that’s Culture Clash) at Trifecta Gallery, uses the amateur rap video format, with green-screen backgrounds of classic art from Da Vinci to Jasper Johns set to a bumping beat. The piece jabs at the challenge of making it in the art world. Meanwhile, sexism — and sex appeal — is addressed with such lyrics as, “You think you got what it takes to make it in the art world? Well I don’t really need much cuz I’m a super cute girl.”
The topics of money and advertising surface in Corriente’s “Comfort.” In YouTube webcast format, he encourages viewers to relax — and then abruptly declares his own discomfort. “To be comfortable you have to be happy,” he says. “To be happy you need money.” He then outlines his comical plan to make two works of art: one appealing to Larry Gagosian (owner of an elite New York gallery) and the other for rapper Lil’ Wayne, in order to make money from both ends of the cultural spectrum. Tailoring works toward opposing extremes speaks to the issue of personal branding and self-marketing. “Comfort” also comments directly on that separation between academic and lay audiences, and the alienation of one or the other. Corriente refuses to capitulate and playfully persists, as does Kim, in speaking a language that communicates on a universal level. Thursday-Friday, Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Trifecta Gallery, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., No. 135, www.trifectagallery.com