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Darren Lago Who’s Afraid of the Red, White, and Green

May 10 - June 16, 2018

521 West 26th St, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10001 T (212) 759-7555 F (212) 759-5824

Installation (Floor 10)

There is humor and history in all of Darren Lago’s work, however the humor is, if not black, certainly shaded by dark times; the lushness of the work belies the greater meaning. In his new solo exhibition, Who’s Afraid of the Red, White, and Green, Lago attempts to makes sense of, or at least address, myriad concerns that are given form by and rise out of our world, from the geopolitical to the ecological, and from the concrete to the abstract. Religion, race, class, and culture all get attention under Lago’s wit and skill as a sculptor and painter. As the world seems to swing right, nationalism and xenophobia expose man’s hubris and the blind eye that is turned towards notions of common sense, decency, and democracy. The title of the show attempts to address the falseness and emptiness inherent in the patriotism of populism, referencing the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” from Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs, which in itself is a tale of hubris and ignorance of the dangers of the world. The colors red, white, and green are among the most common colors of national flags, representing a huge variety of meanings, depending on the homeland, but immediately associative with blood, purity, and money, among others. White President is clearly a draped Mickey Mouse, perhaps the world’s most recognizable children’s character. However, the work addresses the façade of the politician, the unknowability of the leader. It also includes wordplay; the term “Mickey Mouse” has long been used to describe something that is unprofessional, spurious, or cheap. In this case, the “Mickey Mouse-ification” of the American presidency has officially taken place, and the role of Commander-in-Chief has been white-cloaked, white-washed, and washed out. Further use of Mickey’s pop icon status include the E.R. Wacs – a series of small-scale airplanes with Mickey-shaped radar arrays. A play on AWACS, an advanced military radar system, E.R. Wacs addresses the interdependencies of corporate mass production, consumerism, and the military industrialization of surveillance. It also is a cheeky nod toward the Disney Empire and its pervasiveness in our daily life. Appropriation as homage, subversion as purpose, and expectation as victim; throughout his career, Darren Lago has used symbols and iconography as a starting point from which to level serious art criticism and social commentary on our world. The West has seen tumultuous times since the dawn of this new millennium, and with a deft fabricator’s hand, and a keen cynic’s eye, Lago maintains a stringent dialectical relationship between himself and the viewer, and between himself and the real world, or at least our own perception of it. Lago lives and works on the south coast of the UK. His works are in the Saatchi collection, the Arts Council Collection, the Contemporary Art Society and numerous other museums around the world, and can regularly be seen at international art fairs with both Davidson Contemporary, and Annely Juda Fine Art, London.

COLOUR 2018 Oil on canvas 53 1/4 x 33 3/4 inches 135 x 85 cm Signed

E.R. WACS 2018 GRP, paint, motor, metal and battery 6 1/4 x 24 x 24 inches 16 x 60 x 60 cm Edition 1/4

FOXTROT 2018 Oil on canvas 23 3/4 x 15 3/4 inches 60 x 40 cm

MAYFLOWER II 2017 Wood, resin, plastic 68 x 45 x 16 inches 172.7 x 114.3 x 40.6 cm

ROSE-TINTED MIRROR (Red Moon) 2018 Perspex, MDF, and TV Bracket 37 x 37 x 5.5 inches 93 x 93 x 14 cm

SOLDIER BITE TONGUE 2018 Cast self colored resin 16 x 13 1/4 x 14 inches 40 x 34 x 36 cm

SOLDIER SCREAM 2018 Cast self colored resin 16 x 13 1/4 x 14 inches 40 x 34 x 36 cm

SUIT DEBRIS 2018 Debris netting and steel frame 59 x 41 x 4 inches 150 x 104 x 10 cm

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO COLOUR IN JESUS 2018 MDF, 52 prints on paper and 3 clamps 32.2 x 23 1/4 x 2 1/4 inches 82 x 59 x 6 cm

UNION SQUARE 2013-15 Oil on canvas 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches 120 x 120 x 3.8 cm Signed and dated verso

WHITE PRESIDENT 2018 GRP and paint 42 x 31 1/2 x 20 inches 106 x 80 x 50 cm

Installation (Floor 9)


1965 1985–88 1989–90 1990 1991

Born Walsall, Staffordshire BA Fine Art, Portsmouth Polytechnic MA Fine Art, Chelsea School of Art Awarded the Picker Fellowship, Kingston Polytechnic Awarded the Boise Scholarship, Slade School of Fine Art

Selected Exhibitions 2018 Who’s Afraid of the Red, White, and Green, Davidson Contemporary, NY 2013 Empire, Annely Juda Fine Art, London 2012 Piet & Ida Sanders: A Life With Art, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Netherlands 2012 Sugar, Davidson Contemporary, NY 2007 Inappropriations, Davidson Contemporary, NY 2005 Psycho Plastic Works, Maxwell Davidson Gallery, NY 2001 Darren Lago & Co., The New Art Gallery, Walsall 2000 7 x 5 Sculpturess, Annely Juda Fine Art, London 1999 Lago Rosso, 1000 Eventi, Milan 1998 Haus Bill, Zumikon, Switzerland

This catalogue was produced in conjunction with the exhibition Who’s Afraid of the Red, White, and Green at Davidson Contemporary, New York City, May 10 - June 16 2018 All works © Darren Lago 2015-2018

Darren Lago  

Who's Afraid of the Red, White, and Green

Darren Lago  

Who's Afraid of the Red, White, and Green