Nathaniel Mellors: Progressive Rocks
February 6 – April 15 2018
The New Museum exhibition ”Nathaniel Mellors: Progressive Rocks” presented the fantastical and wryly comical videos, sculptures, and installations by Los Angeles– and Amsterdam-based artist Nathaniel Mellors (b. 1974, Doncaster, UK), works that employ absurdist satire to incisively critique morality, national identity, religion, and power structures in contemporary society. Conflating narrative tropes and methods from television sitcoms, theater, science fiction, mythology, and anthropology, Mellors writes the scripts for each of his projects, which he also directs, edits, and produces. His raucous films feature a book-eating creature named “The Object” who literally digests a family’s library in Ourhouse (2010–ongoing); a Neanderthal in perpetual free-fall over the San Joaquin Valley in Neanderthal Container, (2014); and two messianic beings, in the form of a cardboard box and a giant egg, who attempt to make sense of a culture that they created millions of years prior in The Aalto Natives (2017, in collaboration with Erkka Nissinen, originally conceived for the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale). For his exhibition at the New Museum, Mellors created a new environment including video projection and animatronic sculpture.
”Nathaniel Mellors: Progressive Rocks” was curated by Margot Norton, Curator, and was on view in the New Museum’s recently inaugurated South Galleries, a space designated for premiering new productions at the Museum. The South Galleries preserve the character of the building’s loft spaces, where many artists historically worked and exhibited.
Nathaniel Mellors was born in 1974 in Doncaster, UK, and lives and works in Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions include the Box, Los Angeles (2016); Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2014); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Galway Arts Centre, Ireland (2013); Baltimore Museum of Art (2013); Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2012); Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, Netherlands (2011); and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2011). Mellors has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark (2016); the Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2014); Manifesta Foundation, Amsterdam (2014); National Gallery of the Arts, Tirana (2014); National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow (2013); Kunsthalle Krems, Austria (2013); the Slaughterhouse, Plymouth, UK (2011); Center for Contemporary Art Glasgow (2011); the Hayward Gallery, London (2011); the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy (2011). He is the recipient of the 2014 Contemporary Art Society Prize and the 2011 Cobra Art Prize. Mellors and Finnish artist Erkka Nissinen represented Finland at the 57th Venice Biennale with their collaborative video installation The Aalto Natives (2017).