Chicago

Samson Young, the highway is like a lion’s mouth, 2018, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 53 seconds.

Samson Young, the highway is like a lion’s mouth, 2018, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 53 seconds.

Samson Young

Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

The history of dreams of modernization might be conceived, in sonic terms, as a series of catchy refrains. With each turn of the media cycle, a new crop of saccharine propagandistic jingles and overly sincere advertising slogans harbors visions of a better world to come. Specific messages and imaginations may be updated for the times, but, as Samson Young suggests in his “Utopia Trilogy,” 2018–19, we remember them through a haze.

“Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me?” at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art marked Young’s notable departure from the sonic performances and drawings for which he is best known and presented his music videos together for the first time. The videos, which mix 3-D animation, text, and original and found footage, exude a zany intensity carried by Young’s energetic scores, which riff on jingles, show tunes, and radio hits. Each of the

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