Beautiful Losers is an exhibition of multi-media art and design that explores the recent work of a diverse group of visual artists that have emerged from the subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk, and hip hop in U.S. urban centers. The core of the project involves painting, sculpture, and photography, as well as film, video, performance, and product design by more than thirty individuals who have emerged in the last decade--some now established figures in the art world, but many receiving their first broad exposure here.
The exhibition also includes a concise overview of the work of a previous generation of artists who have had a direct influence on the aesthetic development of the artists in question; an environmental soundscape that traces the relationship between these subcultures and various genres of popular music; a selection of ephemeral materials (album covers, skateboard decks, toys, zines, etc.) produced in or related to this milieu; and a film and video program to be screened within the exhibition itself.
The exhibition is conceived and curated by Christian Strike and Aaron Rose of Iconoclast. Beautiful Losers opened in Cincinnati at the Contemporary Arts Center in March 2004 and then traveled to San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in July of 2004. The exhibit will make stops at the Orange County Museum of Art and The Contemporary in Baltimore in 2005, and then travel to Europe in 2006 and Asia and Australia in 2007. A fully illustrated 272-page catalogue published by Iconoclast accompanies the exhibition.
The exhibition is presented in five sections. Roots and Influences examines the work of cultural producers who have had direct influence on the development of the generation of artists and designers that is the principal focus of the exhibition. This section includes examples of the collaborative projects of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol; paintings, drawings, and photographs by Neil Blender, Henry Chalfant, Larry Clark, R. Crumb, Glen E. Friedman, Futura, Keith Haring, Ari Marcopoulos, Raymond Pettibon, Pushead, and Craig Stecyk; and the hand-painted skateboards of Dogtown’s Wes Humpston.
The core of the exhibition showcases the recent multi-media art of Thomas Campbell, Cynthia Connolly, Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Cheryl Dunn, Shepard Fairey, Phil Frost, Mark Gonzales, Evan Hecox, Jo Jackson, Todd James, James Jarvis, Andy Jenkins, Chris Johanson, Spike Jonze, Margaret Kilgallen, Harmony Korine, Geoff McFetridge, Barry McGee, Ryan McGinley, Ryan McGinness, Mike Mills, Steve Powers, Terry Richardson, Clare Rojas, Ed Templeton, Romon Yang, and Tobin Yelland.
Tommy Guerrero, a former professional skateboarder, turned his attention to music in the last decade, producing four solo albums and numerous projects for other musicians. Working with samples of popular music relevant to these subcultures, Guerrero created a Soundscape that enhances the exhibition environment.
The exhibition also features a wide selection of Ephemera and Limited Editions created by the artists in Beautiful Losers, as well as other artists and designers in their milieu. This section includes album covers, shoes, prints, skateboards, toys, and zines.
Finally, an extensive program of related contemporary and historical Film and Video will is screened in various places throughout the installation.