Artist’s Notebook:
Ryder Ripps

12.17.12 Marina Galperina

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, we’re doing something a little bit different, albeit not so much. See how net artist Ryder Ripps got the idea of using a UHaul truck for a renegade pop-up exhibit, curated specifically for Val Kilmer.

Ryder Ripps appeared on the site before for various net-arty low-bit funs. He’s co-founded the image chat platform Dump.fm, is a partner of digital agency OKFocus and does crazy shit. Like this thing — Val Kilmer Art.

In late 2011 I helped organize a group show called LikeArtBasel, featuring internet aware works by Joey Card, Petra Cortright, Sterling Crispin, Ryan Trecartin and others.

Val Kilmer came to the show but didn’t buy anything. Here you can see him at the show and not buying anything (Photo credit Nick Demarco).

I created a Photoshop of the truck and then got a sticker printed and put it on an all white truck we rented from U-Haul’s “for sale” division.



We went to thrift stores and found pieces of art we thought Val would like and used wood varnish to make them more moody.

Some of the work was a combination of readymades.

Like this piece called “How America Started”, featuring an American flag connected to a Navajo blanket by old jumper cables.

We parked the truck on December 7th in the W parking lot.

Some rich looking guy asked if “Val was in town”, I told him no, but that in this truck is art we think he’d like… he laughed and said that he would send a pic of it to Val… soon after, this tweet appeared in our stream…

Instead of the artist’s experience/expression/technique being at the center of an art work, Val Kilmer Art puts the projected sensibilities of another central. The fact that Val Kilmer is that person is entirely circumstantial to him being famous, of another culture and coming to our internet aware art show. Creating art outside of ones own artistic sensibilities/practice for a specific named person/people is the core conceptual aspect of the work. For me, this aspect is undoubtably reactionary to social media’s trope of user as content creator. Exhausted by the exhibition of personal experience/feeling within social media and art, I was driven to try something new. Val Kilmer Art considers the taste of another through the inference of information. We read his tweets, listened to his music and read interviews to arrive at the work within the truck. In this way, Val Kilmer Art is as much a reaction against the self centered content found within art and social media practice as it is an ode to it – creating something new from the interactions that otherwise end in a Retweet or a Like. By taking the content of another found online and tailoring art to it, new life is given outside the stream (imagine if someone made an art show featuring works manifested from the various posts you’ve made) The critique of social media that Val Kilmer Art posits is also a critique of the socioeconomic mechanics of the art world – drawing a relationship between the two and offering insight into the current state of internet based works within the larger art world.

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