Erin Cosgrove

December 9, 2008 - March 15, 2009


Erin Cosgrove’s epic animation, What Manner of Person Art Thou? (2008), follows Yoder and Troyer, the only survivors of two small Amish-like colonies in the Northwestern U.S., after a series of catastrophes and epidemics. The two set off on a journey to find any remaining relatives and begin dispensing violent justice on the evildoers of contemporary society; each encounter represents one of the seven deadly sins. The striking visuals are inspired by the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry. The video is a darkly funny tale of the corruption of modern life and the hazards of morality. Cosgrove lives and works in Los Angeles and this is her first solo museum exhibition.


About the Exhibition

Blood and Irony
By Julian Gough

I yearn for sex, and food, and status, yet when I get all these things, I want more. There must be some greater thing that would satisfy all yearning forever...

People have come up with many ideas to satisfy this human ache. Most have been called religions and involve stories designed to make you feel better (you are not a serf, you are the beloved son of God).

Religious stories have grown less effective as the advancing tide of science has washed away their foundations. Yet the stories science tells don’t satisfy our needs. So the various arts—once humble servants of religion—have been promoted. Art museums are the cathedrals of our time. Neoconceptualism has taken over the role of Jesuitical Catholicism: intricate, elitist, conceptual, and aping the intellectual rigor of science without actually achieving it.

But the masses never cared for ideas, concepts. The masses went to mass for a regular, often violent story that ultimately reassured. That need for a regular, weekly comforting fable of redemption is met today by the popular art forms: romance novels, soap operas, Oprah, cartoons. That transition, from religion to secular modernity, opens up a huge cultural space. This is the space in which Erin Cosgrove operates. And with What Manner of Person Art Thou? (2004–2008), she takes on animation, because the cartoon—pure art, free to do anything at all—most clearly reveals our needs. More


Organized by Ali Subotnick, curator.





Hammer Projects is made possible with major gifts from Susan Bay-Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.


Additional generous support is provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund, and Fox Entertainment Group’s Arts Development Fee. Gallery brochures are underwritten in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance.




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