The Freedman Gallery at Albright College is proud to present works by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, two Brooklyn-based artists who give new meaning to the term collaboration. The exhibition, The Family Show, explores the ordinary lives of parents and artists in extraordinary ways during extraordinary times through film, interactive media and installation works. Experiencing their work will stir up a dialogue about the idea of simulacrum as it pertains to every day lives in modern times. This duo seems to be preoccupied by how we might be fooled, how we look at art and how we look at ourselves. I’ll Replace You, a 2008 16-minute video, is a film in which the McCoys cast 50 actors to play versions of themselves in their daily roles as parent, friend, artist, professor and spouse. The video utilizes cuts to emphasize daily repetition and routine, but also the random nature of these roles for which individuals can seemingly be played by just about anyone. As Chris Chang writes in Film Comment, “What better way to replicate the splintered and prismatic subjectivity of waking life than to hire a bunch of strangers to portray it?”
Exploring the idea of substitution, two large scale photographs. "Jennifer and Ken McCoy/Jessica and Kevin McCoy" are post performative photographs in which one of the artists is paired with a rotating array of passer-bys, friends, and colleagues dressed as the significant other. Here the genre of "couple" is explored through a deadpan mosaic of costumed participants. In these works, the enframing of two people reveals the ease with which someone is replaced and the instant plausibility of that replacement.
The artists are portrayed as young people in a miniature tableau which reconstructs an early experience in which a future career experience was imagined. The sculpture consists of a vertically-oriented platform mounted on a floor-based stand. Miniature elements, lighting and cameras are mounted on either side of the platform. The live video cameras capture shots of the tableau, which are sequenced by computer into an endlessly looping live video, projected as part of the installation.
In this installation, miniatures of the McCoys, their two daughters, and furniture rise and fall on motors suspended from the ceiling. "Is Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s Heaven and Hell about being nice to people on the way up or the inevitability of descent? Situated in Silicon Valley, is it about the tribulations of the business cycle in particular or the giddy roller coaster of humanity in general?" - Steve Dietz, curator
For this project the McCoys hired fifty actors to replace them in executing the many responsibilities they undertake every day. The resulting 15 minutes long video zeroes in on the actor, the idea of typecasting, and the fragmentation of life. Dispensing with Hollywood cornerstone of continuity for each of the "roles" the McCoys play in life (artist, professor, parent, friend, spouse), they cast five different actors. They staged scenes in and around their real lives. Often hilariously miscast and self-stereotyped, the actors play Jennifer and Kevin, interacting with their real children, students, and colleagues in improvised scenes set in their house, studio, and universities. In the editing, the film intercuts the different actors' interpretations of the McCoys' lives. The story unfolds as a kind of "day in the life". It begins in the morning with the family waking up, having breakfast, and leaving the house. Coffee with friends, work in the studio, critiques with students, talking with curators, playtime with kids, dinner out, and after dinner drinks are all edited together into one impossible day. The video underlines the complexity of contemporary life, made up as it is by millions of tiny gestures.