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Jayson Musson: A True Fiend’s Weight

Dec 13, 2012 — Jan 19, 2013

Featuring work by: Jayson Musson

"I've seen hoop dreams deflate/ like a true fiend's weight"

Izzo (H.O.V.A.) by Jay-Z


Fleisher/Ollman is pleased to announce A True Fiend's Weight, an exhibition of new work by Jayson Musson, opening December 13, 2012. Known for his hilarious YouTube video series Art Thoughtz with Hennessy Youngman, artist Jayson Musson has recently made the leap into the world of abstract painting. However, the works that will be on view at Fleisher/Ollman are technically not paintings at all, but disassembled and reconfigured Coogi sweaters mounted on stretchers and transformed into paintings. Coogi sweaters are wildly colored knit garments popularized in the 1980s by Bill Cosby and later, in the 1990s, by the rapper Notorious B.I.G. In Musson's hands, the so-called purity of abstraction collides with African-American popular culture. Simultaneously, Musson pushes the cultural significance of the Coogi brand toward an idealized abstraction. In this friction, the artist provides fresh avenues for us to think critically about abstract painting and its relationship to lived experience.


"In this instance I'm using the hoop dream Jay-Z mentions as a metaphor for the act of choosing to be an "artist" as a definitive lifestyle choice, the struggle inherent in willingly committing to a path with seemingly no security whatsoever, where artists are frequently forgotten if they are remembered at all. So "A True Fiend's Weight" is the negative reality of putting stock in this artist hoop dream/fantasy, I guess; a lingering pessimism that I've found incredibly hard to shake in being an artist. But it also functions as an affirmation, that despite this overwhelming dread of failure that is a part of being an artist, and the numerous sacrifices one makes in order to even make art over a prolonged period throughout one's life, you stay the course because creating work is the only thing that offers anything close to a "spiritual" fulfillment."


—Jayson Musson


Jayson Musson has had solo exhibitions at Salon 94, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Marginal Utility, and Space 1026, all in Philadelphia; and Dazed & Confused Magazine Gallery, London. He has been featured in numerous group exhibitions at venues including Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Postmasters, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; West Galeria, Den Haag, The Netherlands; Grimmuseum, Berlin, Germany; Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, Ohio, among others. Musson received his BFA from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 2002 and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2011.

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