BORN IN SYRACUSE, NEW YORK 1976
Jay Batlle’s varied oeuvre includes sculpture, painting, performance, prints, drawings, short videos, and his artist books. His work manipulates signifiers of elite taste to create an absurd social commentary on the human condition in our late, late Capitalist society. Offering both a critique of comestible-related decadence and a celebration of the preparation and consumption of food across various cultures. Honing in on the interchangeability of wealth and power, while blurring the boundaries between the two as it relates to indulgence and excess, “Batlle’s circulation of emblems and logos of status seem to have the desire to animate themselves. They could become characters on their own: the waiter, the chef, the collector, the conversationalist, the withdrawn poet, the fashion-conscious actor, the well-heeled gallerist, all seem to have been invited into the series as the subject of advancing art today. Impoverished and revealing faces alike—grimacing, mouthing, sighing with pleasure, and spiteful—are put in service of the implied economic service of the restaurant to the well-off client and a resulting critique that is hard to evade: art like an overpriced meal is to be enjoyed with the knowledge of its non-value or necessity” Fionn Meade.
Initially my practice distorted the use and meaning of ubiquitous forms in America such as fire escapes, or gas stations, in frustration against Minimalism. I altered the objects’ language and the viewer’s read of them by using lightweight materials constructed in a ramshackle manner instead of industrial materials. I found that this open-ended abstraction to be academic and lacking in the pathos I had in mind. My works started to be shown in Europe with Arte Povera artists, formally they looked similar. Wondering what a young American artist could bring to this history, that happened 40 years earlier, I started to introduce signifiers of status and debt. I used credit cards and neon to mimic the language of post-minimalism and injected it with the personal history of my own debt. Instead of a cultural history like in Europe, Americans have an over extended lifestyle as their personal history, cutting their ancestry to create an individual narrative. Our lifestyles define us, and in America this is determined through social status and economics. For my personal lifestyle history I chose the habits of the gourmet as a source of inspiration and social commentary. It is a critique of comestible-related decadence and a celebration of the preparation/consumption of food from different cultures. I use signifiers of elite taste to make social commentary, mostly on the interchangeability of wealth and power and blurring the boundaries between the two as it relates to indulgence and excess. My current practice distorts meaning by choosing capitalistic icons of late consumer society as its major sounding board, such as enlarged icons of Monopoly pieces, or surfboards covered in puncturing credit cards with 24 k gold handcuffs as the dog leash. I make art with intemperance and produce works on paper in the hundreds that are a stream of consciousness from everyday thoughts and commentaries running in my head, offering no real answer. I cook extensively for leisure, which creeps into my practice in the form of performances and video works. Currently I am working on a solo show for a commercial gallery in Manhattan in late 2020. Jay Batlle
Batlle’s studio is based in Brooklyn, New York. Batlle was educated at U.C.L.A where he won the prestigious Leveson Scholarship from the faculty. He was an artist in residence at De Ateliers 63 Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. Batlle’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions including: The MoMA PS1, Metro Pictures, Esso Gallery, Casey Kaplan, Nyehaus, Andrew Roth, Paul Kasmin, Feigen Contemporary, Thomas Erben, the Chelsea Museum, The National Academy Museum, Exit Art, The Dorsky Gallery, and The Whitney Museum, all in New York City. As well as: The Glass House Museum at Mana and Gary Lichtenstein Editions, New Jersey; Roberts & Tilton Gallery, Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; The National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago de Chile, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Museo sin Muros – Concepción, in Chile; Galeria Impakto, Lima, Perù; The Artothek Museum, Cologne, The Ausstellungshalle Zeitgenössische Kunst in Münster, The Abteiberg Museum Mönchengladbach, Germany, The Museum of Liverpool, and at The World Museum, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Soho House Istanbul, Turkey; Atelier’s 63, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Galerie Frank, Paris, France; Roza Azora Gallery, Moscow, Russia; Clages Gallery, Cologne, Germany; Galleria 1000eventi, Milan, Italy; and Gallery Phillips de Pury, Dubai, C A B I N gallery Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Batlle’s work is included in private and public collections, including The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California and The Artothek Museum, Cologne, Germany. His work has been featured in several publications including The New York Times, Art In America, New York Magazine, The Art Newspaper, Huffington Post, Interview Magazine, Elle, French Vogue, The Boston Herald, Artinfo, Art & Auction, and Frieze.
Batlle was the subject of a solo exhibition titled Closed For Business at the Museum of Fine Arts Santiago de Chile in 2017 which traveled to The Museo De Bella Artes of Concepción de Chile in the same year. The museums have co-published Batlle’s first comprehensive monograph Works / Obras 2003 – 2018 printed by Ograma Impresores with comprehensive texts from Patricio Zárate, Katherine Chan, Fionn Meade, Adrian Dannatt, and Filippo Fossati in English and Spanish the tome contains over 150 colored plates of works.
Order the monograph here.