A Selection from the Hammer Contemporary Collection: Jeremy Deller, English Magic
On view in the lobby gallery, the Hammer Museum presents a recently acquired video work from the Hammer Contemporary Collection: English Magic (2013) by artist Jeremy Deller. The British artist’s multidisciplinary practice explores subjects like music, fandom, performers, art, and historic events, the elements that make up our contemporary culture. Strongly influenced by meeting Andy Warhol early in his career, Deller continues the Pop tradition of confronting viewers with the commodities and customs that are accepted as given. Though more of a sympathizer than critic, Deller holds up the mirror with a sense of humor and affection. English Magic combines excerpts from the artist’s past projects with new footage, highlighting various aspects of British culture and economy. Mixing the high with the low, the footage is at times majestic and absurd at others. Deller’s representation of his country’s productions is a wry yet poignant take on the nationalist undertones that accompany international expositions. The artist was winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2004 and had a retrospective exhibition which travelled in the United States and Europe in 2012 and 2013. English Magic was originally shown as part of the artist’s solo presentation in the British Pavilion at the 55th International Venice Biennale in 2013.