Adam McEwen

Adam McEwen

Installation, Conceptual Art

November 12, 2014

Adam McEwen is a British artist whose installations and sculptures are manipulating familiar items, re-purposing them in new, unexpected contexts. His interventions are lowering audience’s indifference to the mass media exposure present in the daily life.

Adam McEwen was born in London. In 1987 he attended his BA course in English Literature at the Christ Church in Oxford. In 1991 he moved to the Valencia where he studied art at California Institute of the Arts.

After writing obituaries for the Daily Telegraph in London, he began producing obituaries of living subjects thus highlighting the blurred line between history and fiction. He created morbidly humorous works that often address the celebrity-driven nature of the media and its broad impact on contemporary culture, as in his series of enlarged, wall-mounted mock-obituaries of living celebrities, like Kate Moss or Jeff Koons. As the artist has stated, “I’m interested in that brief second when you aren't sure whether Bill Clinton is alive or dead. I only need that moment in order to disorient them enough to sneak through to some other part of the brain—to achieve that split second of turning the world upside down.”

This artist is also known for paintings employing wads of chewing gum on canvas that reference the bombing of German cities in the Second World War, and for machined graphite sculptures of such banal objects as a water cooler or an air conditioner.

Although McEwen's text paintings situate his work in relation to artists such as Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, and Christopher Wool, his conceptual practice links him more closely with Andy Warhol. Like Warhol, McEwen excavates our obsession with a celebrity and tabloid dominated culture. His work resides somewhere between the celebratory and funereal.

For over ten years he has exhibited internationally and domestically. His presence in New York is especially extensive; he has shown at many of the city’s essential galleries and museums, including PS 1 MoMa, New Museum, Whitney Biennale, and the Guggenheim. McEwen’s studio practice also extends into written and curatorial projects.

He lives and works in New York, NY.