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Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981)
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Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981)

A Family Finds Entertainment

Details
Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981)
A Family Finds Entertainment
signed and numbered 'RYAN TRECARTIN 1/8' (on the box); dated '2004' (inside the box)
DVD
duration: 40' 09''
Executed in 2004, this work is number one from an edition of eight plus three artist's proofs and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist, a Digital Betacam and a hand-painted box
Provenance
Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006.
Literature
D. Cooper, 'First Take: Ryan Trecartin', in Art Forum, January 2006, pp. 188-189 (film stills illustrated in colour, pp. 188-189).
R. Kennedy, 'His Nonlinear Reality, and Welcome to It', in The New York Times, 1 February 2009, p. AR1.
D. Singer, 'Ryan Trecartin', in Creamier, London 2010, p. 241 (film stills illustrated in colour, p. 241).
S. Lafreniere, 'Ryan Trecartin', in Vice, vol. 17, no. 11, November 2010, p. 59 (film still illustrated in colour, p. 61).
R. Smith, 'Like Living, Only More So', in The New York Times, 23 June 2011, p. C25.
C. Wiley, 'We Have a Situation', in Frieze, no. 142, October 2011, p. 194.
K. McGarry (ed.), Any Ever. Ryan Trecartin, New York 2011, pp. 110, 152 and 155 (film stills illustrated in colour, pp. 130-142).
S. Lehrer Graiwer, 'In the studio: Ryan Trecartin', in Art in America, June-July 2013, pp. 148 and 152 (film still illustrated in colour, p. 149).
Exhibited
Carbondale, Southern Illinois University, Student Center Auditorium, Big Muddy Film Festival, 2005 (another from the edition screened on 28 February 2005).
Chicago, Music Box Theater, Chicago Underground Film Festival, 2005 (another from the edition screened).
New York, Anthology Film Archives 12th New York Underground Film Festival, 2005 (another from the edition screened).
Philadelphia, Vox Populi Gallery, A Family Finds Entertainment, 2006 (another from the edition screened on 10 June 2006).
Madison, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Spotlight Film & Video Series, 2006 (another from the edition screened on 2 November 2006).
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2006 Whitney Biennial: Day for Night, 2006, pp. 350 and 383 (another from the edition exhibited, film stills illustrated in colour, p. 351).
London, Royal Academy of Arts, USA Today: New American Art from the Saatchi Gallery, 2006, p. 363 (film stills illustrated in colour, pp. 368-369).
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Expanding the Frame: New Orleans Revisited, 2007 (another from the edition screened on 21 February 2007).
Belgrad, Dom omladine Beograda, Festival of New Visual Tendencies, 2008 (another from the edition screened on 21 December 2008).
Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien, Ursula Blickle Video Lounge, Video des Monats, 2009 (another from the edition exhibited).
Middletown, Wesleyan University, Center for the Arts, Performance Now, 2012 (another from the edtion exhibited).
Cork, The Cornmarket Centre, Cork Midsummer Festival, Brinks Helm, 2013 (another from the edition screened on 27 June 2013).
Special Notice

VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium

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Alexandra Werner
Alexandra Werner

Lot Essay

'Trecartin is one of the rare artists who have developed a new aesthetic structure that helps to reorder one's perception and understanding of the contemporary world. He has been able to model a new structure of visual and verbal communication that reflects the way people interact today. It is not just that he has incorporated the language of the Internet; he has created a new model of reality that builds on the changes that new forms of communication have brought to people's lives'
(J. Deitch, 'The Post-Reality Show', in K. McGarry (ed.), ANY EVER: Ryan Trecartin, New York 2011, p. 7).


Submitted as his final thesis at the Rhode Island School of Design, A Family Finds Entertainment, 2004 is Ryan Trecartin's first feature-length film, which attracted the attention of the art world. In 2006 he was included in the Whitney Biennial where the film screened and is now part of their permanent collection and in 2009 he was awarded Guggenheim's New Artist of the Year and was featured in the Younger Than Jesus show at the New Museum, New York, 2009. Trecartin currently has five freestanding sculptural theatres in 'The Encyclopedic Palace' at this year's Venice Biennale. In addition, A Family Finds Entertainment has been screened at such prestigious institutions as the Royal Academy, London in 2006 and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in 2007.

Using a style which is perhaps best described as theatre of the absurd meets YouTube, A Family Finds Entertainment introduces many of the themes that have gone on to inform Trecartin's mature body of work including, identity, belonging, queer culture and globalization. The forty-two minute film follows Skippy (played by Trecartin) through a series of disjointed scenes: Skippy locks himself in a bathroom while his friends have a party, tells his parents he is gay, becomes the subject of a documentary, is killed in a car accident but is resurrected by a group of people singing during a fireworks display. A linear narrative is not Trecartin's aim; indeed, his work has been described as multi-linear, with narratives unfolding simultaneously as each character takes on the guise of 'star' when the camera is on them. Copying and pasting a collage of dialects, accents, scenes and characters, Trecartin's art takes on the formal modernist aesthetics of collage and cubism and re-contextualizes them not only within new media, but in the vernacular of contemporary life. 'The performance is not live,' Trecartin explains of his method, 'everything is performed for the edit - performed to become live through mediation. Editing is itself a part of articulating the character, and so I see it as a performative gesture' (R. Trecartin, quoted in 'Cindy Sherman Interviews Ryan Trecartin', in K. McGarry (ed.), ANY EVER: Ryan Trecartin, New York 2011, p. 144).

Using garish costumes, makeup and montage effects in day-glo colours, Trecartin succeeds in presenting his viewer with a disturbingly apt representation of contemporary life. Collaging together phrases and expressions which at first sound familiar, through Trecartin's tightly constructed scripting and penchant for speed and repetition, they take on an uncanniness that destabilizes any hope of easily absorbing any narrative arc. Rife with details, Trecartin's work must be watched and re-watched in order to pick out the subtleties of his art form. Jeffrey Deitch is correct in stating, 'Trecartin is one of the rare artists who have developed a new aesthetic structure that helps to reorder one's perception and understanding of the contemporary world. He has been able to model a new structure of visual and verbal communication that reflects the way people interact today. It is not just that he has incorporated the language of the Internet; he has created a new model of reality that builds on the changes that new forms of communication have brought to people's lives' (J. Deitch, 'The Post-Reality Show', in K. McGarry (ed.), ANY EVER: Ryan Trecartin, New York 2011, p. 7).

The linguistic onslaught of puns and word-associations that Trecartin presents in his films are integral to the success of the film. Indeed the artist puts priority on the linguistic aspect of his films and finds that his inspiration comes from 'an accent'. Of the importance of language in his practice Trecartin has explained: 'There's no playing of a role, of something cultural. No drag like 'I'm a housewife,' or 'I am a businessman.' There's no trying to 'be something' and romanticizing any failure at that attempt. It's a performing by using personality as a language, to try to clear the air and create a dialogue. It's awesome to me when someone just says it. Especially when they say it twice' (R. Trecartin, quoted in R. Saylor, 'Ryan Trecartin, Virtual Reality from YouTube to Saatchi', in Useless, November 2006, p. 30). This notion of personality as language extends to the role of physical appearance. The costumes and make-up have the potential to express and explore ideas and language that move beyond their traditional framework. Trecartin notes, 'Makeup, however, is an area where we embrace a more intuitive extension of the personality of a character, or where we frame the character's conceptual focal points.' (R. Trecartin, quoted in 'Cindy Sherman Interviews Ryan Trecartin', in K. McGarry (ed.), ANY EVER: Ryan Trecartin, New York 2011, p. 144).
Through his art, Trecartin explores the uncharted territory between identity and technology that we are all navigating today. Capturing this phenomena and presenting it for our simultaneous horror and glee, Trecartin's work critically engages with how the Internet has affected our existence.

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