(Pop) Icon is a series of works considering the shifting meaning of icon. εἰκών (eikon - image), the original Greek word, was used to signify an object of veneration, a staple of Eastern Orthodox and Catholic religious art, depicting religious figures in highly stylized and symbolic ("iconic") poses and tableaux. Pop stars (so-called pop "icons") in American culture find themselves in a similar situation; subjected to a constant mediatization, they become objects of veneration themselves. When they find themselves embroiled in scandal or subjected to gossip, the cognitive dissonance of us, their audience, is analogous to our experience of fallen angels. While this is true for many pop stars in recent years, no one fits this profile more strongly than Britney Spears. Britney is the first pop star to exist entirely in the age of AutoTune and Photoshop. All of her vocals are digitally corrected and she lip-syncs her live performances; as a result, there is precious little phonographic record of Britney actually singing, merely the digitized re-synthesis of her voice, perfectly in tune. Her imagery, digitally cleaned, cropped and altered, is similarly perfect. And her media image, to quote Chuck Klosterman, perfectly embodies the madonna/whore dichotomy embodied in the American objectification of famous women: "she'll never give it up, because she already has."
About R. Luke DuBois
Known as a software engineer, composer, and artist, R. Luke DuBois creates visual and sonic works that distill historical eras and cultural phenomena down to a single image or a few seconds of sound or video. DuBois’ collections capture both the zeitgeist and the past, articulating cultural trends in meaningful new ways. For the Democratic National Convention in 2008, DuBois collated into a folio a series of 41 text-based prints resembling the layout of a Snellen eye chart, entitled “Hindsight Is Always 20/20.” Having examined the rhetoric of every successive American president’s State of the Union Address, DuBois determined which words were used most by each president. Devoting one print per president, he stacked the words from most used to least, as well as largest to smallest.
American, b. 1975, based in New York, New York