Jason Villegas's installations combine wall murals, video, soft sculpture, and performance. For Perspectives 167: Jason Villegas, the artist debuts a new site-specific installation created for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston to mark his first solo museum exhibition. The installation, Invasive Species, is an extension of Villegas's ongoing narrative regarding the lifecycle of luxury goods and the ecology they create, from the factories that produce them to the beneficiaries of American aid in the form of exported bulk clothing goods. In creating his installations, Villegas forages thrift stores to recover castoff luxury items such as the once prized logo polo shirts. From this found clothing, the artist constructs self-portraits, soft sculpture, and even totems to unveil the fervent underpinning of the mass consumption of these goods and the status that they once promised.
For Invasive Species, Villegas creates an elegant, but campy epic narrative against the epidemic of consumption. The need for status—even among the most economically disenfranchised who often mimic wealth with fake designer goods and other faux luxury items—is also evoked in his narrative as a world turned upside down. In his videos like Saleslot (2009) and Hare Salesman (2007), Villegas's animal logos, such as the Lacoste alligator, become gods and wreak havoc on the world as salesmen who peddle goods that both battle and aid the onslaught of aliens that spew a pandemic of consumption. Through his videos, some of which will be shown in the gallery and the others in a collaborative program with Domy Books, the artist provides a window into his evolving mythology on consumption and its shear absurdity in the face of local, national, and even global economic crisis.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jason Villegas was born in Houston, TX in 1977, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Houston and a Master of Fine Arts from The George Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2007. Villegas's work has been featured in several group exhibitions including the traveling exhibition Phantom Sightings, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2008); Young Latino Artists #10, Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, TX (2005) Artadia@Diverseworks, DiverseWorks (2005), Houston, TX; and The Big Show, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX (2003). Solo exhibitions include projects at Commerce Street Art Warehouse, Houston, TX; Plush Gallery, Dallas, TX; Okay Mountain Gallery, Austin, TX; and Receiver Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
Jason Villegas: Botched Simulacrum will be on view at McClain Gallery, Houston, TX, August 20–September 19, 2009.