Attack of the Clones: Chewed Gum on Canvas

Top: Dan Colen; Bottom: Adam McEwen

dan colen gum

adam mcewen gum

From an interview with Ella Searls, curator at the Kunstverein Schmulke, Cologne: "Of course it is possible to critique the differences between two artists making 'all-over' paintings with dried-out wads of masticated commercial chewing gum. Colen is a young New Yorker with 'street cred' who uses gum chewed by his friends in a kind of debased ritual of eating and sharing. McEwen is very British, very conceptualist, and pays people to chew the gum in a planned performative methodology. One senses the energy and urgency in Colen's placement of the gum on canvas, it's more risk taking. 'Just get it down,' he seems to be saying. Whereas McEwen is circumspect, slow, cautious, almost another Seurat considering the positioning of each wad by color and texture in the larger matrix. One would be tempted to call them the 'Picasso and Braque of gum,' but of course they are in separate worlds, communicating their intentions almost telepathically rather than through shared studio visits. In any case their gum works are important statements, addressing themes of the abject, the loss of the tactile, and the relationship of art to its immediate environment."