Tansey Contemporary at Art Wynwood 2019 marks CRANK’s official public debut with five sculptural works: Nothing is Real, You’re the one, When a Problem Comes Along…, Indian Pot, and ICE ICE BABY. These sculptures explore wide-ranging concepts such as ownership of open source material, cultural appropriation, immigration, sexual orientation, consumerism, and pop music. The form of both Nothing is Real and You’re the one references the wedding vase, a supposed Navajo tradition that is in fact a commercialized construct. The concept of the two spouts sharing liquids symbolizes the joining of two people: the actual relationship of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Nothing is Real and the fictional homosexual relationship between Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie in You’re the one. When a Problem Comes Along… combines Devo’s “Whip It” with imitation whipped cream brand Cool Whip. The work highlights the ubiquity of manufactured food sources while investigating the intersection of text, symbol, and meaning. ICE ICE BABY juxtaposes 90s rapper Vanilla Ice with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to explore notions of falsehood, cultural identity, and the U.S./Mexico border.
CRANK, born on November 22, 1963, the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination which coincided with the death of American innocence, is an outlier, a miscreant, a genderless artist entity that is not necessarily human. CRANK absorbs pop culture, current events, world history, literature, music, and the art market to create works that grab the viewer by the collar. CRANK’s mash up of contemporary American consumption - cultural icons, corporate logos, and sculptural shape - creates narratives that question the idea of ownership in a combination of past, present, and future. Every element of a CRANK work including the title, price, form, and content remains essential to the work itself, acting as a cue to the works’ layered meaning. CRANK attempts to flip notions of control and without a concrete identity, CRANK becomes the game itself rather than the player in both the art market and society at large.
With recent acquisitions from well-respected curators and institutions including the Heard Museum, CRANK has garnered critical praise in a very short time for describing life in the twenty-first century.
Tansey Contemporary will also present eight recent paintings by Santa Fe, New Mexico-based artist Frank Buffalo Hyde. Belonging to the Onondaga Nation, Beaver Clan, and Nez Perce tribe, Hyde creates satirical, graphic paintings, at once humorous and acerbic, that meld the collective unconscious of contemporary life with his heritage. His explosively colorful, bold works challenge notions of what Native American art “should” look like as he turns stereotypes inside out and on their heads. He firmly roots Native Americans in the digital age and critiques cultural appropriation, America’s fear of otherness, and the reduction of indigenous cultures to mascots and costumes. His explorations of identity, cultural politics, and symbolism document the critical issues of our time.