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Jonathan Meese, Fort d’EVOLUTIONSKNOXOZ de ZARDOZEDADADDY 2 (ERZ JOHNNY WAYNE IS DADDY COOLISMEESE), 2016, mixed media. Installation view. Photo: Stan Narten.

Jonathan Meese

David Nolan Gallery

Jonathan Meese, Fort d’EVOLUTIONSKNOXOZ de ZARDOZEDADADDY 2 (ERZ JOHNNY WAYNE IS DADDY COOLISMEESE), 2016, mixed media. Installation view. Photo: Stan Narten.

Inspired by the singular if unfashionable vision of Franz Erhard Walther, under whom he studied at Hamburg’s Hochschule für Bildende Künste in the late 1990s, Jonathan Meese has developed a self-consciously grandiose vision of “total art” that continues to shape his output and its reception. This exhibition, “DR. TRANS-FORM-ERZ,” gathered seventy-odd drawings made by the German artist over the past twenty years or so, but only scratched the surface of his expansive and deliberately contrarian practice. A scattershot installation of works on paper in the gallery’s ground-level space was paired with a chaotic new installation in its upstairs room; together, these constituted a partial but characteristically ripe sampling of Meese’s various fixations, which are centered on historic cultural figures from Nero to Stalin, Richard Wagner to John Wayne.

Like many artists with similarly

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