press release

"I like things to be seven kinds of wrong. If they are seven kinds of wrong, sometimes the wrongs neutralize themselves, and the whole thing becomes…" –Ashley Bickerton

Wrong's What I Do Best gathers the self-searing impulses of artists and musicians playing the role of one's self as someone else. Working against notions of both correctness and failure, Wrong's What I Do Best revels in repeated derailments to present the work of artists who prod the edges of our world. Some unearth scorched histories or upset "natural" order, while others fling themselves headlong into the coming apocalypse. Collectively, their low-irony tilt toward social, political, and personal fault lines might be characterized by illicit unrestraint, yet their lack of critical judgment occludes the artists' true selves.

The exhibition takes its title from what was originally a George Jones anthem, and later a catchall for a generation of Hard Country performers—Johnny Paycheck, David Allan Coe, and Hank Williams—who were known equally for their crafted stage personas and unhinged private lives. These sincerely deluded, tragicomic figures inhabited characters of their own making, to personal peril and kindling for public legend. As Johnny Cash said, quoting Roy Orbison to introduce David Allan Coe, "A diamond is a diamond, and a stone is a stone, but no man is all good or all bad."

Like these performers, the artists in Wrong's What I Do Best mine deep recesses to produce work that is both deeply authentic and highly constructed—blurring the lines between artist-person and artist-persona. In the torrid gap between these two poles, we are reminded that one shouldn't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Artists: Tanyth Berkeley, Ashley Bickerton, CLUB PAINT, Liz Cohen, Wim Delvoye, Samara Golden, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Brad Kahlhamer, Nikki S. Lee, Jonathan Meese, Laurel Nakadate, Dana Schutz, Aaron Storck, Marianne Vitale, and Kara Walker.

Curated by Hesse McGraw and Aaron Spangler.