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  • Joe

    Excerpt from press release: “JOE” explores the psychological and social effects of bearing the ur-generic name of Joe in a society obsessed with pushing personal expression to extremes, as seen in our cult worship of fame, infamy, and people so special they are known by only one name. The stigma of ordinariness can be particularly damaging to individuals toiling in a profession such as the visual arts that has historically valued uniqueness and originality above all, in fact, our apprehension of the sublime in the fact of an artwork’s singleness could be said to be art’s very raison d’etre. At the same time, it must be emphatically said, these are no ordinary Joes. Joe Gibbons, whose website (http://joegibbons.net) lists his favorite food as Pizza delivery boys, uses film, video, and the undervalued epistolary art form to delve into the muddy territory of self – including that fraught area where the self meets its public, the challenging area where the self meets its Maker (or at least confronts his (?) Word), and also the area where the self tries to jump ship altogether, in favor of a new, improved self. Gibbons’ video and film have been exhibited in institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Pompidou, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and has been included in three Whitney Biennials (1993, 2000, 2002). He has collaborated on performances, films and videos with artists Tony Oursler, Karen Finley, Tony Conrad, and Emily Breer. His last feature film “The Genius” had a month-long run in NYC’s Anthology Film Archives and was included in MOMA’s New Directors/New Films, and his most recent work “Confessions of a Sociopath” was included in “Best Films of the Year” lists in Film Comment and Artforum magazines. Joe Zane looks from the recent history of art to himself in the mirror, then back again… and is undecided as to whether he comes up short. Making art in the long shadow cast by Bruce Nauman, Maurizio Catalan, Joseph Kosuth and Andy Kaufman, Zane questions the meaning of authenticity and originality using media that ranges from oil paint to customized plastic drinking straws. His recent projects include creating a highly convincing fake Phaidon monograph for himself, thereby taking an optimistic stab at inserting himself into the deified Contemporary Art Pantheon, constructing a large, rather saggy simulation of a neon sign trumpeting his own name – utterly powerless – titled “My Name in Lights,” and curating a group exhibition on the subject of humor, exploring the abject, performative, psychotic, and transformative aspects of this, one of his favorite topics. Zane is also an accomplished puppeteer and is soon to be quite adept at sleight-of-hand. Zane’s work has been exhibited at Allston Skirt Gallery in one person shows in March 2006 and April 2004, and in “Likeness: Portraits of Artists by Other Artists” curated by Matthew Higgs at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2005; and “Two Friends and So On…,” curated by Rob Pruitt and Jonathan Horowitz at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, “Kapital,” at Kent Gallery, New York, and “Don’t Know Much about History,” at ArtSpace New Haven in 2006