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'21st Century: Art in the First Decade' is an exhibition, publication, blog and series of public programs at the Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art that explore the art of the past ten years. As an expanded platform for the exhibition, the '21st Century Blog' functions as a source book of reference material and contributions provided by artists, curators and writers. Read more

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TRECARTIN, Ryan
A Family Finds Entertainment

Video still supplied by artist

Ryan Trecartin | A Family Finds Entertainment 2004 | Digital video transferred to DVD: 41 minutes, colour, stereo | Courtesy: The artist and Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York

Dennis Cooper on Ryan Trecartin

Author Dennis Cooper has provided one of the most succinct overviews of the fragmented narrative of Ryan Trecartin’s video: “If A Family Finds Entertainment can be reduced to a thumbnail description, this might be it: Trecartin stars as Skippy, a clownish but terrifyingly psychopathic boy who has locked himself in the upstairs bathroom of his family home during a wild party. Ignoring his siblings’ and friends’ pleas that he come out, he paces the little room, cutting himself with a knife and musing opaquely on his existential dilemma in a kind of King Lear-style delirium. Downstairs, the partiers are experiencing wild mood-swings and having complex, disassociated conversations (mostly about him) that are constantly interrupted by bursts of visual effects and animated sequences that disorient the cast of characters like so many lightening strikes. Eventually Skippy emerges, borrows money from his creepy, sexually inappropriate parents, and heads outdoors, where he runs into a documentary filmmaker who decides to make a movie about him; but then Skippy is immediately hit by a car and, apparently, killed. Back inside the house, a hyperactive girl named Shin, also played by Trecartin, gets a call on her cell phone with the bad news. She spends twenty or so hysteria-filled minutes trying to focus and construct a sentence linear enough to tell her friends what has happened.”

Dennis Cooper, “First Take, Dennis Cooper on Ryan Trecartin,” Artforum, December 2006.

Categories: Artist, Writing

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