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Cracks of Dawn

Irreverent artist Eric Yahnker's new works at Kunsthalle L.A.

by Tim Yu in Culture on 21 January 2011

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Seattle gallery Ambach and Rice takes its gallery on the road, presenting "Cracks of Dawn" at art space Kunsthalle L.A. in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The exhibition features new drawings and sculptures by California artist Eric Yahnker, who "outwardly refutes moral and political decency in favor of comic rationality."

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Employing a witty sensibility in his works, Yahnker synthesizes the face of Mother Theresa and Marlon Brando as The Godfather as well as a Native American chief dressed in traditional garb wearing blackface (not to mention the five floating anuses that adorn the chief's headdress). Using what he describes as a "Mel Brooks-ian take on history", Yahnker suggests "ethical dilemmas through visceral depictions that vacillate between the transcendent and the grotesque."

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Yahnker's images are unabashedly tongue-in-cheek (the show's title represents a particularly crude pun) and often absurd—a slice of cheese pizza looks fittingly baroque amid a garland of flowers, the time on a digital alarm clock reads "TITS"—but their lowbrow facade belies a serious exploration into the human ability to accurately assess ethics and authenticity. By obfuscating any sort of true agenda, Yahnker "compels the audience to paddle up shit's creek without a map or a lifejacket."

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"Cracks of Dawn" opens today and will be on view at Kunsthalle through 20 February 2011.

Also on Cool Hunting: Eric Yahnker: Naughty Teens/Garbanzo Beans

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