Keith Farquhar, Bastards: The Creatures Made from Clothes 
September 15 —
November 5, 2005

“The future is feminine, the revolution will not be mental, but genetic”

— Frederic Hubczejak

“The end of sexuality as a means of reproduction in no way heralded the end of sexual pleasure – quite the contrary… (erotic pleasure) corpuscles were sparsely spread on the surface of the glans penis and clitoris. There was nothing, however, to prevent these being multiplied in future to cover the entirety of the epidermis offering new, and undreamed, of erotic possibilities.”

— From Atomized by Michel Houellebecq

Keith Farquhar’s inaugural New York exhibition at Nyehaus births a paranoid world of male obsolescence and vagina worship. It is a world where men no longer serve a reproductive function. They are discards, faceless, anonymous, and occasional objects of sexual pleasure. 

Farquhar realizes this place through two installations. The viewer first walks into a space surrounded by seated, hooded figures dawning stark white hoodies and crisp blue jeans. They are at once unnervingly human and soulless at the same time. In the center of the room is a 16-foot tall totem of hoodies, the genetic building blocks of the perched figures. The piece is a quintessentially figurative sculpture — the perfectly somber pose/gesture/drawing is economically achieved through three meticulously placed staples that bring the clothing to life. Farquhar has been working with clothing and its loaded layers for several years. Initially, his work was adorned with anatomical details (heads) and narrative elements (bullets, noose) to tell stories of hooligan violence and race war. Here, the formal strategy and the subject of cloning are seamlessly achieved through the pure use of clothing devoid of narrative artifice. The artist may well have created the last figurative sculpture (if not, the legion will finish this (art) historical task).

In a clone-populated future, the male’s duties have been reduced from procreator to sexual stimulator — an intimidating challenge. Farquhar settles in to this role by creating a room of six neon vaginas in all permutations of red yellow and blue — a tip of the hat to Barnett Newman’s painting Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue, putting the primal back in primary.

A publication is available for this exhibition.