chicago

Mike Hill

Feigen, Incorporated

In his recent work, Mike Hill reshapes plaster commemorative portrait busts and reperforates U.S. postage stamps honoring famous Americans, in order to examine the mechanisms of fame and iconization. He asks why and how society and its agencies choose to exalt a few from among the many, literally undercutting and exposing the cult of celebrity and unmasking some of its characteristic inanities. His is an art of subtle abrasion and emendation; in both of his bodies of work he takes representations of the famous and alters them, subjecting their surfaces to treatments that pervert their aura without entirely diffusing their stature.

Take, for example, the memorial plaster portrait bust. Hill casts the heads of Dante, Longfellow, Lincoln, Emerson, Washington, and a series of classical composers and slices and dices them variously. Hill cleaves George Washington’s impassive and thoughtful head

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