Adam McEwen, Michael III, 2014, inkjet print on cellulose sponge,32 3/4 × 129 1/4 inches (83.2 × 328.3 cm)
Adam McEwen’s work resides somewhere between the celebratory and funereal. After writing obituaries for the Daily Telegraph in London, he began producing obituaries of living subjects such as Bill Clinton and Jeff Koons, highlighting the blurred line between history and fiction. In a reverse Midas-effect, McEwen has answered to the shimmering claims of Minimalist art by creating contemporary work that is freighted with the leaden melancholy of modern history. As a meditation on the many lives and deaths of art, he has created a space that conflates a beleaguered present with the afterlife of a potent and contentious moment in art history, in much the same way as his obituaries narrate the future-perfect of the rich, the famous, the beautiful, and the notorious. McEwen’s dead zone of dark relics and faded memories confronts us, literally and metaphysically, with the filthy lucre of our past and present.
Adam McEwen was born in 1965 in London, England. He received his B.A. in 1987 from Christ Church, Oxford, and then received his B.F.A. in 1991 from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. McEwen’s work has been shown in major exhibitions around the world, including “Axis of Praxis,” Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2006); “Into Me/Out of Me,” P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2006); “Beg, Borrow and Steal,” Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2009); “The Reach of Realism,” Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2009); “Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010, traveled to Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain); “The Last Newspaper,” New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2010); “America Is Hard to See,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2015); and “Progressive Praxis,” de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, Miami (2016). McEwen’s work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Recent solo exhibitions include The McAllister Institute, New York (2003); The Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas (2012); The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2013); Museo Civico Diocesano di Santa Maria dei Servi, Città della Piene (2015); “Tinnitus,” The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2016); and “Adam McEwen: I Think I'm in Love,” Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2017). McEwen’s works are in the public collections of the Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, Scotland; Jumex Collection, Mexico City; de la Cruz Collection, Miami; and Arts Council Collection, England.
McEwen has curated various projects and exhibitions, including “Power, Corruption and Lies,” (with Neville Wakefield; Roth Horowitz, New York, 2004); “Interstate” (Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York, 2005); and “Beneath the Underdog” (with Nate Lowman; Gagosian Gallery, 2007). In 2010, he curated “Fresh Hell” at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, as the 2010 edition of the Carte Blanche series.
McEwen currently lives and works in New York City.