A Tale of Two Cities

Dallas artist Joshua King takes on NYC with ambitious two-city show

Dallas artist Joshua King takes on NYC with ambitious two-city show

Joshua King
Dallas artist and Aurora co-founder Joshua King. Photo by Justin Clemons
Joshua King
Harpoon007 by Joshua King. Photo courtesy of Baang + Burne
Joshua King
Harpoon011 by Joshua King. Photo courtesy of Baang + Burne
Joshua King
Harpoon004 by Joshua King. Photo courtesy of Baang + Burne
Joshua King
Joshua King
Joshua King
Joshua King

As the co-founder of the 5-year-old site-specific Aurora, Joshua King has helped to elevate Dallas’ reputation as a world-class art city. He brings that same sense of ambition to his own work with two solo shows opening back to back this week — November 6 and 7 — in two very different cities.

Presented by the New York-based Baang + Burne gallery, “Harpoon: Insular and Universal” is a rare opportunity for King to explore the same theme in a different scope. Tailored to fit the energy and space of New York and Dallas, the two “Harpoons” allow this emerging artist to clarify his viewpoint in a unique, impactful way.

Answering Baang + Burne’s opening call for new talent in 2012, King signed on with the gallery and unveiled his first piece at 2013’s Art Basel. “[Baang] doesn’t have a physical space. It’s like this indie rock brand style of gallery that does shows in different cities.

 To call such an exhibition ambitious would be a bit of an understatement, but King is clearly not scared of expansive projects.

“It’s been two years since I had my last solo show, and I wanted to do something in Dallas, and I wanted to have a show in New York. We didn’t want to do this white wall gallery show in Chelsea where everybody came and drank their beer, so we came up with the idea of a secret location that will only be revealed through RSVP.”

Thursday’s locale — a 600-square-foot former bodega in Alphabet City — reflects King’s readymade sensibility. Says Baang + Burne gallery’s executive director Charlie Grosso, “It’s a New Yorker thing, with things being different, trends changing. There are fewer bodegas around and more Rite Aids. CVS and Walgreens. Joshua’s dialogue is about where art objects come from and our relationship to them.

“It’s very monochromatic in its singularness and explores how we erase all sense of unique identifications.”

Pieces like a painted wasps’ nest and flocks of resin roosters filled with drilled holes explore issues such as mass-produced objects and factory farming, as well as the individual’s approach to solving problems by working together. King can expand these themes on a larger scale the following night in Dallas, where a bigger series of installations will take over a friend’s 7,000-square-foot warehouse near the former Ambassador Hotel.

“When people think of Dallas, it’s ‘the bigger the better,’” says Grosso of the venue. “In New York, it’s small, ephemeral and repurposed, and New Yorkers constantly reinvent the space we work in.”

To call such an exhibition ambitious would be a bit of an understatement, but King is clearly not scared of expansive projects. Plans for next year’s Aurora are on the agenda, but King will continue to assure his own work grows equally in scope.

“With getting the spotlight on the national and international community with Aurora, I’m able to bring a lot of artists and curators here. As a representative of Dallas, I want to make sure my career explodes as well. I’m having a lot of fun right now, and I wouldn’t rule out doing [a show like this] again.”

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Joshua King’s New York exhibition is Thursday, November 6, 6-9 pm, and you can RSVP here. The Dallas exhibition is Friday, November 7, 6-10 pm, and November 22, noon-6 pm, at 1219 S. Ervay St.