Internationally renowned for his humorous conceptual and performance artworks that address controversial social and political issues, artist Jay Critchley will be featured in a solo exhibition of his 30-year career, “Jay Critchley, Incorporated,” in the University Galleries’ Schmidt Center Gallery within the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The exhibition will be on view from Friday, Feb. 5 to Saturday, April 2, 2016 and will include new, multimedia collaborations with FAU faculty and students as well as re-creations and documentation of Critchley’s earlier works. An opening reception will be in the Schmidt Center Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
“Jay Critchley, Incorporated” culls together approximately 125 works including sculptures, installations, photographs, videos, posters and live performances by Critchley and his collaborators. Critchley uses ritual, wordplays and the mainstream media to address governmental power and corporate greed and their impact on areas such as the environment, health, sexuality and public discourse. He often founds corporations to structure his work, using the very tactics used by marketing specialists — logos, trademarks, press releases, media conferences, newspaper ads, public appearances and billboards. The exhibition features these decades-long projects along with documentation of the vast media attention they have received. Critchley also endeavors to build community and works collaboratively with other artists and the public. The exhibition will feature a series of collaborative, multidisciplinary installations with FAU departments of music, visual arts and art history, and theater and dance. Outdoor works will be created especially for the exhibition.
“We are honored to present this exhibition at FAU, where the South Florida community will have the opportunity to view Jay Critchley’s brilliant combination of art, activism and humor,” said Rod Faulds, director of the University Galleries. “Critchley’s collaborations with FAU faculty and students have inspired a shared sense of public engagement. In this election year, we hope that Critchley’s works will help to ignite discussions about the sociopolitical issues of our time.”
Exhibition highlights include:
• “Theatre in the Ground at Septic Space” – Critchley’s backyard septic tank theater that has presented, since 1997, classical and contemporary opera, drag, art installations, poetry, and performance. This exhibition was called “Provincetown’s only true underground art scene” by the New York Times. FAU art students will re-create Septic Space and experimental sound collaborations with FAU Associate Professor of Music James E. Cunningham.
• “Old Glory Condom Corporation: Worn with Pride Countrywide” – Launched in 1989 to promote safe sex and AIDS awareness, and includes sculptures, a press conference video and corporate “promotional materials” such as posters and campaign buttons.
• “Nuclear Recycling Consultants” – Launched in 1983 to repurpose abandoned nuclear power facilities. Among Critchley’s numerous public proposals are Three Mile Island Historic Nuclear Park and Planned Community and luxury seaside radiation cottages with Meltdown Mall, BTU Bar and Half Life Jogging Track.
Critchley lives and works in Provincetown, Mass., where he has been involved in community building and activism for more than 30 years. He founded and directs the Provincetown Community Compact, an advocacy and philanthropic organization that supports the Provincetown arts community, and the annual event Swim for Life, now in its 29th year, which has raised $4 million for HIV/AIDS, women’s health and the community.
Critchley’s work has been exhibited and performed in museums, galleries, parking lots and beaches throughout the United States, Europe, Colombia, Argentina and Japan. He has received grants and awards from the Smithsonian-Cooper Hewitt Museum (NY), Massachusetts Cultural Council, Art Matters (NY), and artist residencies from Harvard University, Williams College (MA), Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center (NY), Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain) and CAMAC (France), among others. His work is found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NY), among others. His works have received extensive media coverage, including articles and reviews in Newsweek, New York Times, The New Yorker, Village Voice, People, Playboy, Boston Globe, NPR, CNN and others.
“Jay Critchley, Incorporated” originated at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in May. An illustrated catalogue with essays by curator Bailey Bob Bailey, Faulds, Christopher Busa and Tim Norris accompanies the exhibition. The University Galleries will offer an extensive series of programs in connection with the exhibition including a reading by Jay Critchley from his fictional memoir, “Uncle Jay,” on Friday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m.; a lecture on activist art by a visiting art historian; and weekly readings from “Uncle Jay” by FAU Department of Theatre and Dance students.
For more information and a full schedule of events, call the University Galleries at 561-297-2661 or visit www.fau.edu/galleries.
The exhibition and programs are made possible by grants from State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Cultural Council of Palm Beach County; Beatrice Cummings Mayer; and R.A. Ritter Foundation. Museum Education and AMP Programs are made possible by Kaye Arts Integration Endowment and a grant from the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties.