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John Criscitello

In Code

John Criscitello’s new body of work features rock stars, reimagined album covers, and printed garments. Through the use of traditional media, video, and installation, In Code builds on themes of gay identity and the fragile architecture of masculinity.

John Criscitello. Rollins Cloud, 2017. Inkjet print. 24 x 24 inches
  • September 7 - 28, 2017
  • Opening: Thursday, September 7

Artist Talk: Thursday, September 21, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Criscitello’s instinctive, hybrid compositions are homoerotic without being explicitly sexual. His drawings and fabric constructions bring together “soft” flower and butterfly motifs with “hard” leather and denim-clad figures, questioning the arbitrary distance between the masculine and the feminine.

Frenetic mark-making layered on top of printed imagery and music videos chopped and looped are imbued with the raw energy and emotion of the provocative performers he pays tribute to — Freddie Mercury, Rob Halford, Henry Rollins…

By merging the hand-drawn and the mechanical, Criscitello presents coded sexual content, which is only revealed to the viewer through close examination and attention to material, imagery, and symbol.

About the Artist

In his decades-long career, John Criscitello has worked in multiple mediums, including painting, drawing, and screen printing as well as large-scale video projection and installation. His work has explored themes as wide-ranging as architectural violence and the homogenization of contemporary urban life, and he seeks to understand the relationship between artists and cities. Criscitello began working in the 1980s as part of a small contingent of second-generation punk/Queer visual artists and musicians in the post-industrial wasteland of upstate New York. He recorded the burgeoning scene, capturing performance art and producing videos for broader consumption. He eventually descended into addiction, only to remerge for a second act as the enfant terrible of Seattle with a text and image-based street art campaign scrutinizing gentrification and the state of Queer culture in cities being rapidly transformed into enclaves for the wealthy. His work occasionally blurs the line between advertising and art and between the public and private realms.