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for immediate release

June 12 - June 17, 2004

Curated by Saskia Wilson-Brown
Works by: Sarah Baker, Isha Bohling, Filipe Cravo, Mustafa Hulusi
opening reception: January 17, 2003; 7PM - 11PM

OVERTONES is pleased to present "STARF**KERS", a group exhibition about art and celebrity, curated by Saskia Wilson-Brown, featuring art by London based artists, Sarah Baker, Isha Bohling, Filipe Cravo and Mustafa Hulusi.

A paradox: Art about celebrity, and celebrities who make art, are two phenomena that create a new democracy in the art world.

Traditionally, one could never associate the word celebrity with the word democracy. Yet famous people dealing with art (and artists dealing with famous people) serve to bring a wider audience to the otherwise elite and secretive world of contemporary art. In the art world, celebrity begets democracy.

When Elton John rubs elbows with Charles Saatchi or when Michael Jackson features as a model for Jeff Koons, a "way in" is suddenly provided. The celebrity presence, by its public nature, brings the otherwise elite and secretive art world to a familiar level, and people know what they are dealing with. If their idols can have a relation with modern art, then so can they.

London super-art-star Tracey Emin goes to an opening and gets pissed and rowdy like any lager lout in late-night Hackney, yet her photos are splashed all over the papers. As a figure that most Londoners can recognize and relate to, and as a major character in the contemporary art scene, she is a key element in this new artistic democracy. Emin utilizes this to her artistic advantage by using and exaggerating the mundane elements of her life to create a very public myth. The Emin model has inspired countless members of the new generation of contemporary artists.

STARF**KERS aims to introduce a few key members of this new generation of artists dealing with self-aggrandizement and mythologizing; who explore the concept of celebrity in relation to their personal experience, while recognizing its wider social and democratic implications. While they adopt a Gavin Turk-like desire to create a myth out of mundaneity (his "Gavin Turk worked here." piece at the Royal Academy springs to mind), they wink at the audience, conscious of their place both in the world and in contemporary artistic dialogue.

This much we know: Celebrity is sudden, short-lived, and brings with it a dazzlingly wide audience. Surface is important, and can be smoothed and manipulated. And finally, people can convincingly appear to be what they are not.

Sarah Baker uses photography to create an alternate reality for her life and herself. Her self-portrait images mix kitsch and nod to high fashion and the world of celebrity.

Isha Bohling's jewel-like paintings refer to the preciousness of objects and surfaces. Her near-obsession with the veneer, the outer shell, is reminiscent of the media's tendency to worship the surface.

Filipe Cravo's work focuses on the relationship between personal experience, celebrity (the super-ego) and the contemporary artistic dialogue. He uses humor to provide a dose of accessibility, thereby exploring the very nature of public fame.

Mustafa Hulusi made his mark by plastering posters trumpeting "Mustafa Hulusi" all over Hoxton Square in London. His work has mostly dealt with the concept of turning fantasy into reality, and making oneself bigger than one is (thereby becoming bigger than one was).

OVERTONES is a Los Angeles art venue that supports and promotes creative endeavors in all artistic disciplines, with emphasis on the diversity of Los Angeles communities, emerging and mid-career artists, international collaboration and social responsibility. OVERTONES is dedicated to searching outside the confines of established art institutions and presenting work that has the potential to engage a wide range of audiences.