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“Art is what you can get away with.”

-Andy Warhol

Among other things, childhood is about learning to conform to a preexisting social narrative that necessarily limits cultural free will. The previous sentence is essentially meaningless, but it was published in a reputable art magazine, so it must be profound. The idea which you don’t understand is ostensibly the theme of Jim Bimbo’s art show.

Born in 1988, Bimbo grew up the child of strict parents in suburban Baltimore, and like many upper class American children, he lived in two places simultaneously: the one in a house with rules (make your bed, be kind to the maid, stop crying) and the one outside of it with less rules (here’s some money, we don’t really love you, go have some fun). This sort of dichotomy often prompts a young mind to retreat into a world of its own – a dissociative state evoked here by mixed-media pieces that go into a recondite, defensive crouch. Did you not understand a word or phrase in the previous sentence? Good. Now I seem intelligent and knowledgeable of what I’m talking about.

One sculptural tableau features a pair of formless piles of trash made of aluminum foil and discarded diapers. Both piles wear animal masks rendered in frozen cow dung to resemble fabric hoods, and both are posed by a carved lion (like one you’d find guarding a building) without its head – evoking, perhaps, a vision of childhood fantasy burdened by the demands of acculturation. Do you not know what acculturation means in the previous run-on sentence? (I didn’t know before I wrote this article.) Good. Now I seem even smarter.

Daydreaming interrupted also seems to be the subject of a video fixed on a school entrance as gray, static blurs the image. You can’t make out details of what you’re looking at, so you stand there for a minute and ask yourself why the fuck you just bought a $15 ticket.

tv-static
So deep.

Bimbo returns to adulthood with small, crystal shelves shaped like the balcony of his Manhattan apartment. Yes, can you believe it, he lives in a spacious two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan with a balcony, a fireplace, and a disgruntled doorman who has three children, a used car, and an unpaid mortgage. In another part of the show, a model of an abandoned detergent factory in Bedstuy, Brooklyn being redeveloped as condos offers a view of gentrification undermining artistic agency. It also makes Bimbo feel less guilty about his status and wealth.

Like a lot of millennial artists, Bimbo makes work that risks being about everything and nothing all at once. In other words: complete and utter bullshit. His show takes a lot of explaining, but that doesn’t detract from its cerebral appeal. It simply makes other working artists living on the edge want to kill themselves. •Middle aged rich man attempting to meet a deadline for a reputable art magazine (Bimbo’s exhibit located on 11 Prince Street through Oct 23)

 

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