Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Blvd.
January 19 - April 22
Curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi
Trenton Doyle Hancock’s engaging, discomfiting, and ultimately unclassifiable work could be described as “R. Crumb meets Philip Guston.” This miniretrospective of fourteen worksincluding major paintings made between 1997 and 2016explores the artist’s mythology of the ongoing battle between the Mounds, a tribe of benevolent meat-eating creatures, and the mean-spirited Vegans, who, besides possessing other unpleasant attributes, are unable to see color. The saga unfolds in large, intensely colored paintings that conflate the visual languages of comic books and high modernism, plus one sculpture, Mound #1 the Legend, 2015, and the fifty-four-foot-wide Good Vegan Procession #5, 2007, originally conceived as a backdrop for Ballet Austin. The story is further enhanced by two muscular heroes from the “8 Back Icon Series,” 2016: the artist’s alter ego, Torpedo Boy, and the equivocal Bringback, a striped henchman. Hancock’s deeply serious, funny, and disturbing oeuvre probes, both directly and metaphorically, the troubled history of race relations and social justice in the United States.