Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce its first exhibition of the work of Dave Muller. Muller recasts the detritus of the art and other cultural worlds as skillfully handled watercolor-style drawings, calling into question the value of appropriation and the status of the copy. Finding inspiration in record jackets and gallery announcements as well as newspapers and comic book pages, he deftly recontextualizes the rhetorical tropes of advertising and graphic design to mine the intersection of public and personal.
A deejay and musician, Muller maps his ongoing relationship with the past, present, and future of music, using record collections, musical taxonomies, and set-lists as impetus for portraits and cultural critiques. This exhibition of new work will incorporate wall drawing, works on paper, and a sound sculpture to define a sonic landscape/timeline that begins around the turn of the first millennium and projects centuries ahead into the future. Drawing the history of music’s ups and downs in terms of mountains and valleys, forests and deserts, Muller expands on the tradition of landscape painting, creating a topography of music spanning across every wall of the gallery. Projecting the timeline into the years ahead, Muller translates the possibilities of music’s futures into graphic terms. His backward and forward glance, though, embraces its own subjective account, bringing Muller’s own thoughts on history (and its representation) to the forefront. His timeline does not attempt to be a definitive narrative on music, but instead one that exists at the interface of his personal vision and that of a shared popular culture.
Muller’s sound sculpture is a self-portrait as a small radio station. A computer containing his entire music library, over 74,000 songs, will play selections at random, transmitting on an FM frequency. The resulting “radio station” will broadcast to radios distributed throughout the Gladstone space. While using sound within installations has a tradition in contemporary art, Muller conflates its use within a fine-art context with other ways in which music reaches the public. Muller postulates that you are, in some respect, what you listen to. His station can broadcast songs for more than 200 days without repeat, offering an extended trip through Muller’s sounds. In an essay for the catalogue to Muller’s exhibition, “Connections”, critic and curator Matthew Higgs elaborates on Muller’s role as deejay: “Like the Great Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s novel, the DJ is central to, but essentially at one remove from, the party.” In this case, the party continues without the deejay.
Dave Muller was born in 1964 in San Francisco. In 2002, his exhibition “Connections” premiered at the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and traveled to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. He has had numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including solo shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the St. Louis Art Museum, while he has been included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and the 2005 and 2003 Lyon Biennials. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.