Wade Guyten: Das New Yorker
Wade Guyten’s Das New Yorker sees the Serpentine transformed into a bleak chapel of non-event consumerist imagery in which relics of the 21st century stand indifferently over you. Large sections of news websites, the Book of Mormon ads, iPhone ads and grey mush circumvent the senses in a familiar but uncharacteristically static way. They are more boring when you can’t click away or habitually ignore them because in this context it is art and at the very least there is an ‘art experience’ to be had. In a world so jam-packed with entertainment, it is noteworthy, that some galleries don’t feel pressured to become fun houses, social media ready with large slides sticking out the side of the building.
Art and the gallery serving as a means for reflecting the world back at itself is a well-trodden path but still a worthy route to take and can be particularly effective through the means of photography. Wade Guyten’s exhibition Das New Yorker, helps you to remember the world you see every day - it turns out that it’s one of endlessly banal visual content; how many adverts do you ‘consume’ against your will on a daily basis? 50? 100? 1000? and how many do you consciously see?
If you live in a city, no doubt you hold a vast and disorganised archive of consumer mantras and long forgotten advertisements, all the while the conscious self, glossing over them. A particularly interesting piece featured the New York Times’ homepage to their website - a bastion of journalistic integrity that in reality was part news and part advert, in equal measure - it was surprising and absurd. Much of the work documents matter of factly, how heavily consumerist the visual landscape we live in is, both on and offline. It’s not beautiful, even if it’s a Space Black iPhone 6 set on a black background - it is still not beautiful.
Wade Guyten went beyond just the matter of fact and showed some of the idiosyncratic amateurish adverts that exist - commonplace on listing websites like Gumtree and eBay. In this image, a disgusting brown couch is repeated several times, lit badly, documented by the seller carelessly who was probably looking for a quick sale. Other images look objectively at the phenomena of pixelation and digital representation - zoomed in and wrapped around canvasses. These images provide a welcome respite from the others and through abstraction sit well next to the exhibitions more direct counterparts. You certainly won’t leave Das New Yorker with a spring in your step but you may leave feeling a bit more attentive to the reality of the consumerist culture around you. AG