Abu Dhabi is Love Forever: The Works of Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

Nov. 1, 2012 - Dec. 8, 2012

Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley, Troy, NY

Brooklyn-based collaborative artists Jennifer and Kevin McCoy explore autobiographical themes as experienced through cultural and media-based images. From August of 2010 to June of 2011, the McCoys and their family lived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. During that time, through video, collage and found imagery, the McCoys reacted to and contemplated the culture and landscape of their new, temporary home in the desert. "Abu Dhabi Is Love Forever" was first exhibited at PostMasters Gallery in New York City in the spring of 2011.


Works Shown

Halal Series 2 (Snacks)

2010, paper collage in a gilded frame

A popular pastime in the UAE is shopping. From the vast and numerous western style malls to the traditional souks to the local grocery stores, there is a constant flow of imported products into the UAE. In this series of collage works, traditional architectural pattern motifs are inscribed with snack food wrappers, packaging from canned meats, and labels from beauty supplies from the local market. These are presented in ornate gilt frames that are typically used to frame images of the UAE’s rulers or passages from the Koran.

Mussafah

2011, video

In this 49 minute video, Mussafah, the camera takes a journey through the manufacturing zone of Abu Dhabi. Far from the glittering skyscrapers and beaches, Mussafah is the place in Abu Dhabi to fix motors, to bend aluminum, to produce tangible material goods. It is the "back of the shop", literally the place where the advertising signs are printed. Using a slow tracking shot, the McCoy's video allows the eye to take in the details of this environment with all its complexity. It is a work place, yet there are clothes hanging on clotheslines and chickens in the street. It is Arab, yet multinational logos and English signs abound. Its streets are largely devoid of people, yet it operates on 24 hour work shifts. In previous work, the McCoys fabricated post-apocalyptic miniatures to shoot tracking shots of blown out malls. As they have found in Abu Dhabi, the need to create these landscapes from the imagination was unnecessary.

Abu Dhabi is Love Forever

2010, installation

This photo mural installation depicts the compelling advertising used in the United Arab Emirates to sell a lifestyle of comfort, success, and luxury. These kind of images are used on construction fences throughout the UAE, barely masking the desert they attempt to resection.

Halal Series 3 (Beauty Products)

2010, paper collage in a gilded frame

A popular pastime in the UAE is shopping. From the vast and numerous western style malls to the traditional souks to the local grocery stores, there is a constant flow of imported products into the UAE. In this series of collage works, traditional architectural pattern motifs are inscribed with snack food wrappers, packaging from canned meats, and labels from beauty supplies from the local market. These are presented in ornate gilt frames that are typically used to frame images of the UAE’s rulers or passages from the Koran.

Prayer Is More Important Than Sleep

2010, video

In this video, the McCoys film the sound and images of the morning call to prayer through their bedroom window on the 37th floor of their apartment building. In this call to prayer, called Fajr, usually at around 5 a.m., listeners are advised (and often aided) to begin their day with prayer. Part of the prayer is the assertion that "prayer is more important than sleep".