Disown: Products Designed By Contemporary Artists Are “Not For Everyone”

March 7, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

In time for art fair frenzy, Dis Magazine just put up a Tumblr/”infomercial” announcing an IRL pop-up shop in Manhattan that will be open for the next month. “Disown,” as their video describes it, offers “consumer products made by contemporary artists” including Ryan TrecartinJon RafmanThe Jogging and Hood By Air. The aesthetic /subtextual snark of the show should be familiar to anyone who follows Dis or even knows what The Jogging is, (it is, after all, one of the most-followed Tumblrs on the network). Like much of the genre, it’s impossible to tell if the art project is a parody and subversion of trend-hungry marketing, or sincere appreciation of the same.

“Dis depicts a world where there is no alternative, where confusion is the new luxury,” the video promo cheerily informs. That confusion can be bought in form of their hybrids of luxury objects and artworks — you can purchase bongs stuffed inside shoes, office plants on office chair-bases and dish-ware by artist-run clothing brands.

The larger morality of this art trend seems unclear, or even eager to demonstrate that it is deliberately absent of it. Most of this kind of digital art has been staunchly a-political while The Jogging appears straight up anti-political, recently keen on satirizing internet conspiracy theorists and perhaps all political structures in general. The #normcore micro-phenomenon also has unpleasant implications. That’s not to say that art must have a message, but it’s this aggressive sort of ambivalence that is maddening. Particularly, the coy wink at pretend-commentary through embracing consumer culture and the definition of “normal” as conventionally attractive, cisgendered, able-bodied and mostly white.

The show includes the “trend-forecasters” K-HOLE, the artists who’ve thrown release parties at major museums for their PDFs and blew the lid off #normcore. As the promo says, “Abstract cultural predictions become reality.” If you don’t believe us, ask Brad“Disown” Pop-Up Store, Mar 6 – Apr 6, 220 W 18th Street