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.
Hype, Hustle, Rip-Off opens on February 21 at The Contstant Gallery, 2673 S. La Cienega BLVD, Los Angeles, CA. The exhibition closes on March 28, 2009.