Postcards from the End of the World: Brian Alfred’s Colorful, Cautionary Tales
Summoning the visual and emotional aspects of the sport, and considering the multiple vantages from which it can be experienced, Alfred has divided the raceway experience into sharp, graphic compositions, executed in his trademark vibrant style. He delivers a thrilling narrative through carefully cropped compositions, inspired by the track itself, skid marks, celebratory confetti, sponsor logos, and even the cacophony of a crash. The show’s title—“It Takes a Million Years to Become Diamonds So Let’s All Just Burn Like Coal Until the Sky is Black”—sets the tone of the exhibition, and takes its name from a composition by the experimental band Storm & Stress, with which Alfred has collaborated in the past. (The band’s guitarist Ian Williams, also of Battles, will play at the exhibition’s opening). In tandem with the exhibition, Alfred presents a mural work at the corner of Houston and Elizabeth Streets, in collaboration with Rag & Bone, a new print created with Atelier Ace Editions of the Ace Hotel, and an animation with SEdition.
The works in the show continue Alfred’s investigations into industry, progress, dystopia, and the hazy distinction between past and present. By highlighting the infrastructure that humans create—and by extension the things it prioritizes and facilitates—Alfred shines a light on what society values, and the ways we define ourselves today.
Recent works, such as Office and Buddh (both 2014), evidence a concise, effective visual language. In Office, for instance, geometric shards of white paint on a black grid suggest a voyeuristic look into an empty office building late at night; Buddh turns the painted markings from Buddh International Circuit in India into a
“It Takes a Million Years to Become Diamonds So Let’s All Just Burn Like Coal Until the Sky is Black” is on view at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, New York, Feb. 5–Mar. 14, 2015.