Now Through May 23
There is no such thing as a bad movie frame.
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce “Rear Projection”, an exhibition of new photographs and sculpture by John Waters. “Rear projection” is a movie term for the process whereby a foreground action is combined with a background scene filmed earlier to give the impression the actors are on location when they are, in fact, working inside a studio. In Waters’ latest work, this artificial and outdated visual effect is embraced, attacked and taken to extremes.
Glorifying the struggle, humiliation, and wild excitement of a life in show business, Waters uses an insider’s bag of film tricks and trade lingo to celebrate the excess of the movie industry. Rewriting and redirecting existing film imagery snapped off the TV screen, he assaults, elevates, subtitles, and startlingly alters these one time classic, respected, even honored movies to attain a new kind of equality: a cult film that only needs one viewer – John Waters himself. Child stars are given bad habits (Children Who Smoke); innocent movies are perverted by editing out just a few frames (Santa Molester); even traditionally beautiful movie stars are glamorously deformed by suspiciously overbudgeted charity advertising campaigns (Hollywood Smile Train).
The cult of religion and the religion of cult are the same in Waters’s world, as in The Process (a cult that worshipped both Satan and Jesus) and Idol #2, Waters’s un-ironic beatification of singer Johnny Mathis. He sneaks into other movies like a spy to photograph the very details that their original directors didn’t notice. Waters revels in the terrible frustrations of today’s film business combined with the hostility that outsiders feel towards the contemporary art world, hoping to bring into focus a fresh breed of humor, cheap (but satisfying) sexual thrills, and a shabbily elevated artistic appreciation that must always start from the back of the line.