Harley Viera-Newton, the celebrated New York tastemaker and DJ, is the starting point of Brendan Lynch’s show at Bugada & Cargnel. The former’s choices are the “raw materials” for the latter’s works; Lynch uses Viera-Newton “to remove [his] personal taste as much as [he] can.
“The objects used by Lynch in his sculptures are selected from objects Viera-Newton has posted to her website and social networks. Lynch’s choices are “limited to what she approved of or what she is into, to create formal sculptures and to give the objects a new context.”
At the entrance of the gallery a few objects entirely molded in Magic Sculpt (a cup, a mug, a vase and a dish) lie on a leopard-print carpet (Welcome, 2014). Three sculptures (Website1, Website 2, and Website 3) made with clothing racks include objects that Viera-Newton has featured on her website, including designer dresses and bags as well as cheaper objects. These are displayed in the main space in front of seven abstract paintings derived from a logo (a black cat head) created by Viera-Newton for a headphones brand. The clothing racks and objects are all molded in Magic Sculpt in order to function as “muted readymade assemblage sculptures” in contrast with the designer items.
Two months prior to the show, the artist started an Instagram account (@_brendan_lynch_) and purchased tens of thousands of followers and likes in order to create an illusion of popularity. His account was intended to mirror Viera-Newton’s way of promoting what she likes and how she uses her account.
On May 13, the gallery received a cease and desist letter from Viera-Newton’s legal representatives, who maintain that the gallery doesn’t have the right to advertise or promote Lynch’s exhibition with any materials that include Viera-Newton’s name. Thus Lynch decided to censor his own show by erasing Viera-Newton’s name from his paintings, press release and invitation cards: “I covered parts of her signature with various marks and colors that added a new composition as well as a new life to the paintings. The wood panels became “oil and censored signature on wood panel”. I also hand painted and signed over every single invite that was printed. The whole show was based on Harley’s decisions as a way to create; this was her final instruction.”