This piece was produced alongside a larger group of works inspired by circus and freakshow banners, a fascination of Brown's throughout much of his adult life. The banners were typically the product of untrained artists with limited access to art historical imagery and art making materials, both of which Brown appreciated as he saw their artistic vision as uncompromised and pure. All the paintings in the series that Brown produced were circled in either orange or green borders, framing an image of American culture as if it were the star of an extravagant circus production. This piece was an unusual deviation from the rest of the series, featuring a blue banner, and fusing the freakshow banner motif with Brown's longterm interest in satirizing the contemporary art world. Here, Brown rather literally proposes that the subject of the contemporary museum is an elaborate, theatrical freakshow, a shocking splash of colors meant to scandalize rather than inspire. While Brown knew and admired many contemporary artists including abstract artists, throughout much of his adult life highly skeptical of pure abstraction, concerned that there was an escalating 'arms race' of gimmicks and 'shock value' which overshadowed the actual content.

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Kavi Gupta Gallery
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