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Giant Metal Matchboxes

April 24 – May 10, 2014

SKYLAR FEIN ||| artist interview 


SKYLAR FEIN III Giant Metal Matchbooks

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is proud to announce Giant Metal Matchbooks, new metal sculptures by artist Skylar Fein.  This special exhibition, in conjunction with New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, will be on view from 24 April through 10 May, 2014 with an opening reception on Saturday, 3 May from 6-9pm.


Fein is best known for working with wood. But for this new series, the artist learned how to work with aluminum, an entirely new material for him. The result is a freshness that is obvious on first sight. 


Fein says of the new work: 


But why matchbooks? A common object is a perfect meeting place. That's an Oldenburg quote, I think from the 1980s, and it's still true - in objects we discover society, and in objects society discovers itself. The most banal objects are anything but.


Obviously Claes Oldenburg's giant sculptures are forerunners here, along with a dash of Warhol's Brillo boxes and a side of "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." Small isn't trivial. Oldenburg said he was going for something giant that was simultaneously antimonumental. It's a paradox but we're stuck in it so we may as well enjoy it.

The matchbooks open up, revealing - yes, giant wooden matches, with realistic match heads. Do they light? Not exactly. But they burn.


Skylar Fein was born in Greenwich Village and raised in the Bronx. He has had many careers including teaching nonviolent resistance under the umbrella of the Quakers, working for a gay film festival in Seattle, stringing for The New York Times and as pre-med student at University of New Orleans where he moved one week before Hurricane Katrina hit. 


In the wreckage of New Orleans, Fein found his new calling as an artist, experimenting with color and composition of the detritus of Katrina. His work soon became known for its pop sensibility as well as its hard-nosed politics.


Skylar Fein was the recipient of a 2009 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and his work is in several prominent collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, The Louisiana State Museum, The Birmingham Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art and collectors Beth Rudin DeWoody, Lance Armstrong, and Lawrence Benenson.