Jerry Meyer's Civilization and Its Discontents reviewed by Artnews

2011-07-15

Denise Bibro Fine Art is pleased to share the ARTnews review of Jerry Meyer’s solo exhibition from 2011 Civilization and Its Discontents, as well as a virtual tour of his remarkable installation My Great-Grandfather’s Attempts to Turn Sexual Energy Into Electricity To Power Small Machinery Based On The Principles of Sigmund Freud and Nikola Tesla. Read the ARTnews review below, and click here to enjoy a virtual tour of Meyer’s installation.

In the Summer 2011 issue of ARTnews, Valerie Gladstone writes:

Freud’s famous essay “Civilization and Its Discontents” (the title of this show) provided the inspiration for Jerry Meyer’s amusing series of wall-mounted light boxes, filled with images, objects, and text, all commenting on human foibles. Witty, perceptive, and colorful, Meyer’s works deal with serious subjects-death, fear, sex, love-and the complicated ways we feel about them. He seduces us with humor.

This is especially evident in My Great-Grandfather’s Attempts to Turn Sexual Energy Into Electricity To Power Small Machinery Based On The Principles of Sigmund Freud and Nikola Tesla (2011).In this room-size installation, made of wooden dynamite crates, a wire-mesh suction cup sits on the breast of an old-fashioned dressmaker’s model. Cords lead from the cup to different colored light boxes. All have names like the “Fantasy Booster” and the “Genital Convergence Electrical Threshold Generator.”

Astrology for the Very Worried (2009) shows an old-fashioned astrological chart, with the face of a smiling woman at the top promising, “Anyone can create their very own Birth Chart!” The first instruction reads, “Align indoor temperature (Celsius) with number of sunspots at moment of birth.” Arrows crisscross the chart, some pointing to statements like “Maybe never told you were adopted,” or, more innocuously, “Parents’ combined gross income.”

The pastel-colored Stop, Stop, Please Stop (2009) considers the things parents say to children: “Don’t You Understand the Word ‘No’?” The sayings surround a little boy, holding a big stuffed bear in his lap. At the top of the chart is the guilt-provoking “I Only Hope I Live to See the Day When You Have a Child.”

On a different note was the nostalgic and tender Lady Day (2011), an homage to jazz singer Billie Holiday. On one side of a wooden box is a photograph of her midsong; on the other side, there’s wallpaper, and running up the middle, a funerary string of purple flowers linking the side-life and death.

Powered by ArtCat