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    Nostalgia for Scandal

    Mike Bidlo
    September 24th - November 24th, 2022
    Nostalgia for Scandal | Mike Bidlo
    Mazzoli Gallery / via Nazario Sauro 62, Modena

    Mike Bidlo has had museum shows at PS1, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, N.Y.; Astrup Fearnley Museet fur Moderne Kunst, Oslo; and The Lever House Art Collection, N.Y. He has had one-person shows at Larry Gagosian, Daniel Templon, Francis M. Naumann, Tony Shafrazi, Tobias Mueller and Bruno Bishofberger Gallery. His work was included in numerous shows in such distinguished venues as the Albertina, Centre Pompidou, The Andy Warhol Museum, Art Gallery of Toronto, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Serpentine Gallery and Saatchi Gallery, London, Whitney Museum of American Art, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, L.A. County Museum of Art; Carpenter Center, Harvard University; and Documenta. Among his most infamous actions and installations, we must count Matisse/Picasso – A Cross Examination, at the Museum of Modern Art, Long Island City, New York; A More Modern Olympia (a recreation of Manet’s painting, Olympia); Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes in Nuremburg; Yves Klein’s Anthropométries de l’époque bleue (at the Sezon Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, The Moderna Museet in Sweden, and the Palladium in New York); and Not Andy Warhol’s Factory at PS1. He lives and works in New York City.

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    Galleria Mazzoli is pleased to announce the opening of the solo exhibition of American artist Mike Bidlo curated by Richard Milazzo.
    On display are 16 works by the artist realized between 1984 and the present day.
    Regarding Bidlo's work, the curator explains forthrightly: “Politically speaking, not to mention sexually, scandal is no longer possible, the scandalous has acquired the valence of wishful thinking. And yet, Bidlo’s outrageous appropriations still seem to scandalize viewers to this day. It is rare and special to have in a single exhibition works from so many different vectors of Bidlo’s oeuvre. However, given the labor-intensive nature of his works, it should surprise no one that he has executed so few one-person shows in his lifetime. Indeed, the only other time an exhibition of this magnitude and of mixed works has happened was in his Masterpieces show at the Bruno Bischofberger Gallery in 1989. This exhibition at Galleria Mazzoli might even be described as Masterpieces II, especially as it contains works by artists that were not in that show in Zurich thirty-three years ago, such as Courbet, Malevich, Miró, Klein, Fontana, and Stella, almost all of which have never been seen before. Of course, all the titles of Bidlo’s works are preceded by his by-now infamous word ‘Not’ (a Hegelian sublation of negativity, to put a fine point on it): Not Courbet, Not Picasso, Not Duchamp, Not Malevich... The phenomenon of appropriation in Bidlo’s work functions simultaneously as a homage to, but also, more importantly, as a critique (a dialectical negation) of, the history of Modernism.”
    “Two controversial issues,” the author continues, “merit clarification: for those who see only the ‘scandal’ of theft or plagiarism in Bidlo’s appropriations, they should reconsider. For if an artist paints a Caravaggio and transacts it as such, as a painting by Caravaggio, then it is what it is: a crime, a fraud, perpetrated against the public. But if an artist paints a Caravaggio and titles it Not Caravaggio and signs it with his own name, then that is an authentic work of art by the artist who signs it.
    “The second issue is perhaps still more controversial having to do with Bidlo’s anti-Duchampian ethos, which might even be described as Neo-Dadaist in character, operative in several of the works’ most radical instances, including his ‘actions’ or performances, involving not only the self-destruction (or, to put it more politely, the abnegation) of the ego or Self, in the personification of Mike Bidlo, but the destruction of the work of art per se. For an artist who might be rightly described as having continued the avant-garde ‘tradition’ of Duchamp and the readymade, effectively treating Modernist masterpieces as readymades, it is more than a little strange, or perhaps not so strange at all, for Bidlo to subvert what has become the convention of appropriation in contemporary art.”

    The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of a major monograph on Bidlo’s work, Nostalgia for Scandal: The ‘Not’ Paintings, Sculptures, Works on Paper of Mike Bidlo, 1984-2022, written by the curator of the exhibition, Richard Milazzo. In addition to the controversial analysis of Mike Bidlo’s paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, this volume contains 400 color and black and white illustrations, 16 full-color plate reproductions of the artist’s works in the show, a checklist of these works, a comprehensive history of his exhibitions and actions/installations, a selected bibliography, and an index of the works by the artist discussed and/or referenced in the monograph.

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    Mike Bidlo / Nostalgia for Scandal

    exhibition's catalogue
    Mike Bidlo / Nostalgia for Scandal
    Mike Bidlo | Nostalgia for Scandal:
    The 'Not' Paintings, Sculptures, Works on Paper of Mike Bidlo 1984-2022
    Essay by Richard Milazzo
    368 pages, color images
    500 numbered copies

    Published by Mazzoli Gallery. Modena, 2022.

    Mike Bidlo / Nostalgia for Scandal
    + Mike Bidlo, Nostalgia for Scandal - Mazzoli Gallery, Modena 2022