Learning to Love Your Image: Fan Art Meets Contemporary Art / Hyperallergic

Eric Doeringer, “www.CremasterFanatic.com” (2004–13), website (courtesy the artist)

CHICAGO — Anyone who has ever spent more than three consecutive hours listening to their favorite band on repeat, attempted to dress up as the lead singer, or camped out overnight to get tickets has more than just a passing interest in said band. This person, a bit fanatical in their behaviors and emotional connection with the band, is a fan. Many of these fans also happen to be artists, who are either making art about their obsessions or have “grown up” and stopped indulging in their teenage-scented fantasies.

A new exhibition titled Love to Love You, curated by Martha Joseph at Mass MoCA, examines the intersection of fandom and contemporary art. ”In fan art you get rid of that critical distance that exists in a lot of contemporary art,” says Joseph. “The reason I think fan art is so timely right now is that in the ’80s, with appropriation art, that distance with the artist was crucial. I think a lot of younger artists have moved past the point of always needing that. We are seeing a lot more art that is dealing with homage and citation and re-creation of something without the postmodern distant criticality attached to it.”

The Love to Love You show is prefaced by a single quote that sums up the nature of the fan’s obsession with image: “Fandom is less like being in love than like being in love with love,” from Michael Joseph Gross’s Starstruck: When a Fan Gets Close to Fame. Artists in the exhibition include Mark Bennett, Eric Doeringer, Patrick McDonough, Elissa Goldstone, Eva LeWitt, Jason Lazarus, and Jeremy Shaw, and all approach the intersection of fan art and contemporary art from a place that questions what fandom means for both pop culture and the art world, while also becoming, to an extent, part of their respective fan cultures. Many of the works have online components as well, which offer an opportunity to engage through a participatory element that’s integral to fan culture.

Read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/71707/learning-to-love-your-image-fan-art-meets-contemporary-art/