MIKE BIDLO
NOT WARHOL (BRILLO BOXES, 1964), 2005
7/1/2010 - 9/11/2010
LEVER HOUSE ART COLLECTION

M I K E   B I D L O  

NOT WARHOL (BRILLO BOXES, 1964), 2005  

  

Lever House Art Collection, New York  

July 1 - September 11, 2010   

  

Mike Bidlo is best known for his incredibly accurate replications of masterworks by important twentieth century artists, including Picasso, Matisse, Man Ray, Duchamp, Leger, Pollock, and Warhol. Bidlo‚Äôs earliest pieces were partially performances, such as ‚ÄúJack the Dripper at Peg‚Äôs Place‚Äù (1982) during which he painted replicas of Jackson Pollock‚Äôs drip paintings and re-enacted Pollock‚Äôs infamous act of urinating into Peggy Guggenheim‚Äôs fireplace (which Bidlo finds relevant to Pollock‚Äôs painting technique and is related to Bidlo‚Äôs later recreations of Warhol‚Äôs urine splashed ‚ÄúOxidation‚Äù paintings).   

  

Bidlo is a staunch aficionado of twentieth-century modern art and his recreations of masterpieces are done with a sense of appreciation and devotion, and as an exploration into the concepts of originality and creativity.  He is a member of the generation of artists, including Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Barbara Kruger, who emerged in the 1980s and practiced appropriating subjects and images from popular culture and art history into their own art.  Bidlo describes his artistic activity:  ‚ÄúMy work is perhaps an extreme example of this strain of art which references other art because it directly mirrors the image, scale, and materials of the original. Whatever differences appear in my work are a consequence of my working method and not an attempt at projecting a personal style.‚Äù  

  

Bidlo works on an ambitious scale, and he has done 80 exact copies of Picasso‚Äôs paintings of women, over 1000 drawings based on Duchamp‚Äôs famous 'found‚Äô urinal sculpture, ‚ÄúFountain‚Äù (1917), and made 100 Brillo boxes based on Warhol‚Äôs original series of 1964.  Warhol, after Duchamp, is the most famous to declare ordinary, commercial objects as works of art, and he did so with Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Brillo soap pads, Heinz tomato ketchup, and Kellogg‚Äôs corn flakes.  As Bidlo states:  ‚ÄúI've always felt at home and not alone in claiming Duchamp's legacy. His selection of already-made everyday objects opened new avenues for subsequent generations of artists.‚Äù  

  

Bidlo‚Äôs ‚ÄúNot Warhol (Brillo Boxes, 1964)‚Äù are exact replicas of those made by Warhol and are exhibited in a similar stacked formation. Bidlo says:  ‚ÄúI thought it would be interesting to appropriate a work by another appropriator, so in a way I just kept the proverbial snowball rolling.‚Äù    

  

Warhol copied the design of the commercial cardboard cartons of Brillo and altered their size, but Bidlo works only from photographic illustrations of artworks found in books and catalogues.  Consequently, Bidlo‚Äôs ‚ÄúNot Warhol‚Äù transformations are reproductions derived from a photographic reproduction of an original reproduction of an original product.    

  

Adding another layer of detachment, Bidlo, like Warhol, encouraged assistants to participate in the making of art, and this group of boxes was produced in 2005 with the involvement of art students at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Bidlo would like to acknowledge Lawrence Waung, Director of the Mason Gross School of the Arts Gallery, Professor Barbara Madsen, and her students:  Allison Beer, Angel Bellaran, Mike Berber, Jasen Blosser, Noa Bogatch, Joana Domingos, Nicole Ianuzelli, Jess Jones, Mirian Kovacs, JT Lamkin, Giovanni Olivera, Lance Pilgrim, Josh Pivnick, Jacquelyn Tierney, and Clair Yoo.  

  

It is also fitting that these replicas of household products are being exhibited at Lever House, in the former lobby space of Lever Brothers Company, who displayed their commercial brands, Sunlight dish detergent, Wisk, Surf, Dove, Lux, and Lifebuoy, in the same location.  

  

Mike Bidlo was born in Chicago in 1953, and studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago (BA, 1973); Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (MFA, 1975); and Columbia University, New York (MFA, 1978).  Bildo lives and works in New York City.  His work has been exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; New Museum, New York; PS1/MoMA, Queens, NY; Sezon Museum, Tokyo; Saatchi Collection, London; and Fondation Cartier, Paris.  The artist is represented by Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, and Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York.  

  

Richard D. Marshall, Curator  

   

MIKE BIDLO  

NOT WARHOL (BRILLO BOXES, 1964), 2005  

Silkscreen inks on painted wood, forty-seven boxes, each 17 x 17 x 14 inches   

Lever House Art Collection, New York  

LeverHouseArtCollection.com