birmingham

David Batchelor

Ikon Gallery

The title of David Batchelor’s first major solo show at a public institution, “Shiny-Dirty,” neatly encapsulated the beat-up brilliance of his trademark stacks of reconditioned light boxes and fleets of low-slung, four-wheeled monochromes. Expanding on this title, the artist’s description of his work in a catalogue interview as “dirty readymades for shiny monochromes” signaled a conscious engagement with two of twentieth-century art’s most signif- icant forms. Batchelor’s work is informed, though by no means governed by, his writings on the theory and cultural history of color. “Chromophobia I–IV,” 2000, for example, a series of photographs of a roughed-up toy panda in a garish clown costume languishing on a sidewalk, was made the same year as the artist’s justly celebrated book, whose title it borrows. Yet his work’s consistent emphasis on accident and experiment, its embrace of the casual

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