Tommy Mishima


Projekt722 is pleased to present "IconoClash" an exhibition of works by Fred Fleisher, Tommy Mishima and GJA Stewart. The exhibit is curated by Noah Becker and opens November 15th in our East Williamsburg gallery space.

1) Iconoclasm…is the deliberate demolition of religious icons and other symbols or monuments of one's own culture, usually for religious or political motives.

2) Iconoclasts; a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any individual who challenges "cherished beliefs or venerated institutions on the grounds that they are flawed or pernicious.”

Images, Objects and Ideas are like clothes reflecting a person's character. The pictures we chose to adorn the walls with which we live; the cherished objects given to friends and family; the messages posted on our social media pages . . . all of this glut of "stuff” has the potential to be iconic and speaks volumes about individuals, society and culture.

For the exhibit "IconoClash" Fred Fleisher, Tommy Mishima and GJA Stewart tackle this head on as they confront notions of:

Economic and Political clout
Machinations of hidden power
Liberation through consumption
Waste in the 21st Century…of materials and lives
Repercussions of advertising and its impact on human desire
Marketing for the masses that feeds false esteem and unbalanced ego while undermining individualism
Rampant consumerism, ecological mitigation and adaptation and disposable culture
Pop music, Fashion, Movies . . . All providing assurance of freedom through capitalism
Socialism or Shopping
Life articulated through breakfast cereals, lawn mowers, toasters and the latest cars
And much, much more. . . !

The things that are manifested as iconic function as a way of information. However, within the current culture, excessive information makes the person unable to identify or discern important from superfluous data, and turns one into a mere consumer. Consumerist society would like us to believe that propaganda is a device only used during times of war or by communists and fascists. But in the unashamedly open quest for mega profit is iconic media advertising not just propaganda to generate more and more profit? Isn't the world in which we live the ultimate provider? We are given icons that act as source codes for structure, paradigms without shifts where images flow into words and words double back to images, with rarely a question mark. And if there is a question it's usually an academic placeholder, never really designed to actually question. Mysteries surface and sink back down into the iconic cultural landscape.

Tommy Mishima's work deals with the creation of allegories or narratives about the symptoms and byproducts that seem to have arrived from such pervasive exposure to imagery and information, such as insanity, and a passive aggressive, mostly futile, performance dedicated to all systems of belief. This stated purpose is apropos as ideas, images and words that are force fed to an ever sleeping populace are tricked and twisted, sometime offered as they are and, more often than not, double and triple layered with a variety of meanings.

In an ever-increasing visual landscape that reinvents the reinvented, GJA Stewart uses existing images as visual subversion. This is not simply a challenge to "Art", but the very notion of what constitutes the norm of everyday life and culture. His work neither avoids nor embraces status quo image making artifice. Instead, it walks into fresh territory while using the same images that drive our culture of desire. Thus, new readings emerge in aesthetic arrangements that maintain content of a serious conceptual nature.

Fred Fleisher's work continues to evolve toward a platform that addresses the cultural noise that surrounds and engulfs every day life. Asking why is everyone around me always in a state of medium to high alert? What is it that is being fought against? What is looked for via self-help and spiritual texts? With use of vibrant color and popular cultural icons, his work provides a portal into a Jungian-like unconscious, collective dream state. Hovering and vibrating, it subverts above and below states of mind, humorously yet poignantly provoking the viewer to consider answers.

Noah Becker was born in Cleveland Ohio and lives and works in New York City. A prolific painter, he has most recently exhibited at the Toronto International Art Fair. He is also the founding editor of Whitehot Magazine, a pioneering venture in online art magazines since 2005. He also happens to be one of the most famous people in the artworld.

Statement by the artists with contributions by Louise Baggot