Dave McKenzie: Everything's Alright, Nothing's Okay!

Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery

Video works by UArts alum Dave McKenzie BFA '00 (Printmaking).

Born in 1977 in Kingston, Jamaica, McKenzie received his BFA at the University of the Arts in 2000 and also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

McKenzie’s works, which are often manifested in video or performance, explore identity, race and public (re)presentation of self. His work is about vantage points of public representation and how these positions are open and available to slippages of interpretation. As such, McKenzie has frequently made use of his own likeness in his work, which straddles a world of humor and deep serious issues. In the video Wilfred and Me (2012) for example, the side-profiled McKenzie repeats the phrase “Magic Johnson has AIDS,” a phrase whose meanings reveal themselves over time. What initially seems like a performance of a minimalist mantra, over time develops layers of meaning: poignant, exhausting, at times literally gut-wrenching, dealing with issues of hero worship, representations of masculinity, mortality, the AIDS crisis (especially as manifested in the black community) and ultimately personal truth.

Mortality is also addressed in McKenzie’s five–minute video Attunement (2009), in which the artist has appropriated and tweaked a Bill Cosby television show episode; playing off the Notorious B.I.G.’s Suicidal Thoughts (a track on the CD Ready to Die) and Cosby’s admonishment to Theo to buckle down with his school work and make it as he and his wife had. The unreality of the situation comedy meets the reality of Biggie Smalls’ lyrics and assassination in a direct take on class, identity (both Smalls and McKenzie have connections to Jamaica and Brooklyn) and success in a consumerist society. The somber eternities of death, politics and art are also addressed in several new and as yet un-named videos shot in Berlin.

Opening reception: September 7, 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Lecture: September 27, 1 p.m.

Anderson Hall
313 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

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