Portrait of an American Family | a solo show by Audrey Ryan
Open Projects is excited to present Portrait of an American Family, a solo show by Audrey Ryan at our ALPHA artspace. The exhibition will open Friday November 3rd with a reception 7-9pm, and will be on view through Friday November 24th.
Portrait of an American Family depicts devotees of Marilyn Manson in his likeness to illuminate and relate histories of dysfunctional spirits. This show features works from Ryan’s ongoing series My friends as Marilyn Manson.
For those who are unfamiliar, Marilyn Manson is an American artist known for his controversial work and persona. He reveals and challenges the mainstream conservative Christian American culture, while also communicating the internalization of it. His work illustrates how fetishizing celebrity and victimizing the already-alienated manifests itself as hatred, disgust, and as the subsequent pursuit of power in the form of violence. Although Manson's work fights for open mindedness in the face of cowardice and ignorance, it is not without a sense of humor. Many of his works are characterized by a light-hearted nihilism that celebrates the beauty of the broken.
In our current socio-political environment, safety seems extra illusory. It feels to me like it did post-Columbine, post-9/11, but even more unstable. Like many others, I have found myself struggling and have reached for what I did back then to cope: Holy Wood. Released on November 11, 2000, Holy Wood was Marilyn Manson’s response to those who blamed him for inspiring the shooters at Columbine High School to carry out their massacre. As a parable of America, and his darkest and arguably deepest record, I identified with Holy Wood on many levels. To be brief: as a child of dysfunction and as a victim of relentless bullying, I truly felt like nobody: A Disposable Teen, if you will. Holy Wood validated my reality while simultaneously providing an escape from the insanity of that reality. It excited and empowered me. For that and to Marilyn, I am eternally grateful.
Although the United States has been experiencing internal conflict for generations, this year has revealed just how deep it really goes and Manson's lyrics feel even more relevant today. So....I have decided to paint portraits of my friends as Marilyn Manson because I want you to know The [other] Beautiful People.
Audrey Ryan is a figurative oil painter whose work is about conflict. She is informed by punk culture, and histories of disorder, addiction and recovery. While also making drawings, poems, prints, zines, videos, installations and tattoos, she aims to communicate the struggle to survive our human selves. Originally from Binghamton, New York, Ryan was born an only child to a gunsmith and a gardener. She currently lives and works in New York City.