Matt Vis ::: b. 1965 and Tony Campbell ::: b. 1965
Generic Art Solutions, New Orleans, LA ::: b. 2000
GENERIC ART SOLUTIONS (G.A.S.) is the collaborative efforts of Matt Vis and Tony Campbell. This New Orleans-based art duo utilizes nearly every art medium as they examine the recurring themes of human drama and the (dis)functions of contemporary society. Always rooted in the performative, they play every character in their work. In their more distilled “duets” we see something of a yin and yang (a balance between individuals that aren’t quite interchangeable), but in their more elaborate stagings, the resultant effect is as epic as the subject matter itself. By combining Classical, Romantic, and Baroque compositional elements with contemporary pictorial techniques, they manage to illuminate the common thread that connects past histories with current events. This strategy creates something of a “Déjà Vu effect” that is driven by drama and surrealism with traces of levity. In this dialogue between the past and present the viewer realizes several things: 1) that the history of art is inextricably political, 2) that human behavior repeats itself no matter how tragic or brutal, and 3) that this cycle of repetition must be broken so personal and societal progress can be made. Despite all this, their work contains a glimmer of hope--a hope that through thoughtful examination (and armed with a commitment to change) we can indeed forge a better future.
Their “Video Portraits” (Caesar and Caligula, Power and Shame, Tin Soldiers, etc.) are certainly no less poignant, if less visually complex. Shot in black and white and viewed in pairs, the near-identical figures (again, played by Vis and Campbell) resemble “living human sculpture” struggling to keep their composure. These nearly motionless figures portray disciplined characters as they accept their fate before our very eyes. Consequently, these looped real-time observations provide the viewer a feeling of control as they stand in silent critique of society’s power figures and their eventual corruption.
Their public performances certainly contain their most humorous and irreverent commentary on the function of art and contemporary life itself. More absurd than comical, their performances engage the audience by playing carefully developed roles with a specific task at hand. Their best-known and longest-running performance is the “International Art Police”, or the “Art Cops”. Beginning in 2000, they have outfitted themselves in authentic police uniforms (complete with badges, police cruiser, and special ticket books) and have taken to the streets with the mission of “Safeguarding Art Communities Worldwide”. Dubbed a “Public Service Performance”, they patrol art galleries, museums, and events looking for suspicious art activities. They maintain professionalism with respect to their self-imposed duty, and issue a “Notice of Violation” only when both officers are in agreement. The list of infractions indicates that they don’t take themselves too seriously: “Too Art School”, “Formulaic”, “Too Trendy”, and “Even I Could Do That”, to name a few. Many artists familiar with their mission even request tickets at their openings, but although all fines are only $45, few artists actually pay. As in the rest of their work, the underlying message reminds us that every action has its consequences whether we address them or not.
The “Art Cops” has been performed in numerous cities including: Venice, London, New York, Miami, New Orleans, etc. The performance at Art:Basel Miami Beach in 2012 was featured in publications such as the Art Newspaper and ARTNews. Generic Art Solutions (G.A.S) has also exhibited their work in numerous museums, galleries and art fairs. In 2010, the duo mounted a solo exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art entitled Déjà Vu All Over Again. Their most recent solo exhibition circa: now was on view at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in December 2013. In 2014, The duo will be participating in a group show Fútbol: The Beautiful Game curated by Franklin Sirmans (Prospect.3 Biennial Director) at Los Angeles County Museum of Art which will include work by: Ai Weiwei, Paul Pfeiffer, Vik Muniz, Lyle Ashton Harris, Andy Warhol, Nelson Leirner, Andreas Gursky, Gabriel Orozco, Sam Taylor-Wood, Kelly Barrie, Kehinde Wiley, Mark Bradford, Jedediah Caesar, Chris Beas, Generic Art Solutions (Matt Vis and Tony Campbell), Liz Glynn, Karl Haendel, and Drew Heitzler. Also in 2014, G.A.S will be showing ten photographs in an exhibition at ZACHĘTA National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland with artists including: Mike Kelly, Janine Antoni, and Paul Pfeiffer.
Their work is in several notable collections including: New Britain Museum of American Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, and noted curator Dan Cameron.
CURRICULUM VITAE |||
[download full CV below]
Matt Vis, 2007 University of New Orleans, M.F.A.
Tony Campbell, 1994 Royal College of Art, MA RCA (Fine Art).
New Britain Museum of American Art
New Orleans Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
AWARDS and RESIDENCIES
2014 The Rauschenberg Residency, Captiva, FL
2008 Joan Mitchell Grant For Public Sculpture
2016 10,000 RPM's, UNO St. Claude Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2014 Generic Art Solutions, Cross Mackenzie Gallery, Washington, D.C.
In the Shadow of a Giant, Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2013 circa: now – Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2011 Anarcadia - Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2010-2011 - Déjà Vu All Over Again, New Orleans Museum of Art, LA
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014-15 Guns in the Hands of Artists, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2014 Crime in Art - Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow, Poland
2014 Fútbol: The Beautiful Game – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
2013 In God We Trust – Zachęta, National Art Gallery of Poland, Warsaw, Poland
2012 Art Cops - Art Basel Miami Beach Performace, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
2011 Double Cresent – C24 Gallery, New York, NY
2011 Hit Re-Fresh – Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2010 Emerge - Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
2010 Strange Birds - Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2010 Hot Up Here - Arcadia Center For The Arts, Lafayette, LA
2009 Fountain – Art for Arts’ Sake Performance commisioned by The Contemporary Arts
Center New Orleans, LA
2009 Hot Up Here - Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, LA
2009 We Collaborate Better Than You - Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2009 Still Lives and Tragic Endings - Good Children Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2008 No Dead Artists - Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2008 Sing and Drinking Scultures - Art For Arts’ Sake Performance commisioned by The Contemporary
Arts Center, New Orleans, LA