Open: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm

54 White Street, NY 10013, New York, United States
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm


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Eric White: Local Programming

GRIMM, New York

Fri 23 Feb 2024 to Sat 30 Mar 2024

54 White Street, NY 10013 Eric White: Local Programming

Tue-Sat 11am-6pm

Artist: Eric White

"The problem is not that television presents us with entertaining subject matter, but that all subject matter is presented as entertaining." - Neil Postman

GRIMM presents Local Programming, a new solo exhibition from Los Angeles-based artist Eric White. This marks the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery and his first in our Tribeca space. Local Programming, set in the muted haze of the 1970s, follows a woman enthralled by television, specifically game shows, whose actions blur the boundary between psychological delusion and metaphysical epiphany.


Installation Views

Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM Installation image for Eric White: Local Programming, at GRIMM

White’s paintings explore the intersection of the romanticized American dream and the psychological paranoia imbued in this fantasy. Referencing 20th century film and pop culture with a painterly finesse, his work subverts and recodes the dominant narratives of contemporary society. The exhibition presents a series of vignettes centering around a female character (‘The Woman’) who seeks solace and spiritual enlightenment in television, convinced she is receiving divine transmissions from its programs and the TV Guide. Following a semi-linear narrative, Local Programming documents The Woman’s journey from the suburban living room into the woods, where she uses the TV guides as sacrament in an attempt to ground herself and connect the rhizome of her beliefs with the rhythms of the natural world.

The Woman works to divine meaning from the TV Guide’s images and programming schedules, and she discerns sacredness in the symmetry of the game show boards found in ‘The Hollywood Squares’ and ‘The $10,000 Pyramid.’ In her questionable state, the show’s boards are impossibly exaggerated, leading her to believe she is perceiving them in a heightened state of consciousness. Through a ritualistic practice, she obsessively defaces, collages, and reconfigures TV Guide covers in order to escalate their spiritual resonance, transforming them into divine objects. Employing a self-styled symbology, which conflates sacred and finite geometries, specifically the Fano plane, she makes connections with tenuous logic and overwhelms her own psyche.

Beneath the seemingly benign narratives of entertainment programming, White observes the dark tendrils of self-doubt and isolation, misogyny and xenophobia instigated by the media machine. Inspired by the work of philosophers Neil Postman and Marshall McLuhan, White imagines a moment of epiphany in which the worlds of entertainment and spirituality intersect, unraveling any distinction between autonomy and oppression, technology and divinity.

White has explored media throughout his career, incorporating screens into his work over the past decade to examine ideas of participation and voyeurism, bringing the viewer into the frame of the painting and reflecting back the gaze of the artist. While Local Programming looks back to a nostalgic heyday of television, when our attention was less divided across multiple screens, the exhibition examines contemporary debates around overconsumption and the impact of media on free thought and democracy.

Responding to and lampooning our collective media obsession and the churn of content perpetually driven toward the consumer, White’s Local Programming challenges what the agenda behind entertainment really is, who the gatekeepers are, and what lies beyond the commercialized façade of the television screen. The Woman finds herself on a spiritual journey, engaging in mystical practices and rituals to seek truth in the pages of the TV Guide. Delusional or awakened, she finds comfort and stability in the mundane, and profundity in pop culture.

Eric White (b. in 1968 Ann Arbor, MI, US) lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1990. He served as adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts from 2006 - 2013. In 2010, White received a Painting Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work has been featured in exhibitions in museums including the Laguna Art Museum in California (US); Long Beach Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA (US); Museo de la Ciudad de México (MX); De Bond Museum in Bruges (BE); MACRO Museum in Rome (IT) and The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD (US).

Installation view, Eric White: Local Programming at GRIMM, New York, February 23 - March 30, 2024

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