Let me first warn that these aren’t particularly pretty, but that isn’t the point. The point is that artist KATSU is remote-controlling a FLYING ROBOT that sprays paint!!!
For his current show at The Hole in New York, KATSU features a a vast range of work, including a grid of drone paintings titled “Marilyn” – a reference to Andy Warhol’s prints of the same name that also embrace errors of their production process (though in the drone works, that’s a bit of an understatement).
As if to transform the gallery into his personal playground, the entire floor has been covered with a few inches of black rubber chips.
Two landscapes (or “dronescapes”) join the portraits like sloppier robot-controlled versions of Impressionist paintings.
In the back of the gallery, a swarm of ceramic drone sculptures hang motionless from the ceiling. Every few minutes, a puff of fog shoots from the wall to form an indoor cloud that lingers mysteriously before dispersing throughout the gallery.
Now before the comment section explodes with arguments of whether or not this is a valid way to paint (or even “art” at all), consider two things:
First, if like me, you are under 60, you were born after Jackson Pollock died. I’m not saying that KATSU is the next Jackson Pollock, but I am saying that I’m too young to be offended or surprised by Pollock’s paintings. These drone paintings give me a chance to feel that uneasy mix of emotions: simultaneously fascinated by the future of the process (just imagine what this will do to graffiti) and yet I admit I’m a little irked by the idea of robo-collaboration and a greater divide between the painter and the canvas. And that’s really cool, because I can now stand in front of a Pollock, or Warhol, or Monet and really understand that “hey you can’t do that!” feeling.
Second, KATSU has a wicked sense of humor. He is famous for faking this video of himself vandalizing a famous Picasso painting at the Museum of Modern Art (yes, fake). Other works in the show include 3D printed handguns, portraits made with human feces, and a live feed of a video game he’s playing RIGHT NOW from an undisclosed location. And again, this is all viewed while standing on a rubber “playground” floor. My point is that this show will certainly change the world… but I wouldn’t take it too seriously.
Title image courtesy of The Hole, New York. All other images photographed by the author.