Is it a Sell-Out to Make Art Out of Ads?

We didn’t always dig Greg Gossel’s collage work. Sure, it was sexy. How could it not be? Each canvas was a kaleidoscope of retro pop—the kitschy cool worlds of Lichtenstein, pulp comix, and vintage porn dumped together into a salad shooter and churned into a schizophrenic, MTV-ready storm. Put it on a t-shirt, and that stuff would sell like mad.

And that, to us, was always the problem. Too commercial. Too market-tested. Too much like a billboard. Street art as street advertising.

So imagine our surprise to find Gossel putting up a show that takes a swipe at what seems to be his muse: the noisy barrage and pitch-perfect cool of modern commercial media. For his current crop of torn and layered collages, Gossel is using actual fragments from real-life, current ad campaigns.  

The artist took to the streets of Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York, ripping sticky shards from any billboard or paste-up that caught his eye. He then jumbled it all together, with quintessential Gossel elegance, into fetching mixed-media pieces that coyly straddle the line between art and advert. Called “Weathering the Storm,” Gossel’s show, as his press release nicely puts it, promises to be “an archive of image, color, and type fighting for visual dominance.” 

We’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. But it’s sporting of Gossel to take such a meta approach. And if nothing else, it shows the guy’s got a sense of humor about his art.

Weathering the Storm
Opening reception Saturday, July 28
6–10 p.m.
Soo Visual Arts Center, 2638 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.