The latest name set to appear at The Constant Gallery in Los Angeles is the talented Bill McMullen with his exhibition ‘Hype, Hustle, Rip-Off’ opening on February 21. “I’m now forced to write articles about technology just to be able to get money to pay for the new printer I need to print out the article.” – Douglas Rushkoff in “Ideas & Trends; Is Planned Obsolescence Obsolete?” New York Times, February 17, 2002.
Bill McMullen’s work is at the locus of control between contemporary culture’s learned helplessness and mass production’s planned obsolescence. The seduction of immediate consumption, along with its resulting hand-to-mouth futurism, are analyzed by McMullen as one half civics lesson and one half the jouissance of the advertising age running its ultimate course. The tail-eating snake that hides in this era’s economic deluge becomes McMullen’s inspirational void from which both political and artistic action springs forth.
Hype, Hustle, Rip-Off is more than just a critical look at the learned obsolescence and planned helplessness of Post-Cold War capitalism. It is a glimpse at the post-pop art world’s potential trajectory—beyond the simple needs of political poster simulacra branding, venal location based parochialism, and the corporate shilling that uses a contrived cloak of cosmopolitan surrealism. McMullen’s work ultimately resonates because it does more than brand, copy, market, and elevate, since he understands that all of these actions are mutually exclusive.
Ultimately, Hype, Hustle, Rip-Off shows just how easy it is to be “had” by misinterpreting capitalism’s optical tools for cogent representations of unfeigned visual culture—and that the Ouroboros is actually all of us.
Bill McMullen is a student and purveyor of visual culture originally from San Diego, California. After moving to New York City in 1996, he spent three years as an art director and designer at Def Jam Records, leading to his influential working relationships with recording artists such as the Beastie Boys, Method Man, Guru, Luscious Jackson, Foxy Brown, DMX, Spank Rock, The Federation, and Bad Brains. He has created various packaging projects for the Criterion Collection and his latest projects include designing for Adam Yauch’s film distribution company, Oscilloscope, encompassing posters and packaging for documentary films such as Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot and FLOW. McMullen’s client list includes Nike, MTV, Span of Sunset, Adidas, Kid Robot, Burton, N.E.R.D., 2K Gingham, and Beastie Boys. McMullen attended San Diego State University and lives and works in New York City.
Bill McMullen ‘Hype, Hustle, Rip-Off’
The Constant Gallery
February 21, 2009 through March 28, 2009
Opening reception: Saturday, February 21, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm