Matthew Brannon Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Matthew Brannon
Police Officer Giving Up


Silkscreen on paper

76 x 58.5 cm
Utilising the aesthetics of graphic art, Matthew Brannon’s work explores the gulf between social ideals and personal crisis. Using screen printing as form of analogue reproduction, Brannon’s images carry both the suggestion of mass replication and aura of original artworks. Directly challenging the void between language and actuality, Brannon often combines text and image to illustrate the potential for dysfunction. In Police Officer Giving Up, Brannon juxtaposes a neutral symbol of a houseplant with a statement of desperation. Exuding the inadequate sentiment of greeting cards, Brannon offers decoration as a feeble mask for emotional depletion.
Matthew Brannon
How It All Ends


Silkscreen on paper

76 x 58.5 cm
In Matthew Brannon’s How It All Ends he creates an ironic game of semiotics, using an abstracted plant as a visual representation of the accompanied text. Reworking a subject associated with art historical religious paintings, he doesn’t present a fiery Armageddon or cherubic heaven, but rather a bland composition reminiscent of wall paper swatches or gift shop stamps. The image is compelling through its crafted elegance, creating a blithe meditative focus. In confronting the spiritual, Brannon offers a bereft philosophy, conceiving the human condition with disappointment and chagrin.
Matthew Brannon
Hair of the Dog


Silkscreen on paper

76 x 58.5 cm
Matthew Brannon’s work investigates media imagery as a cultural interface, exploring the gap between expectation and inadequacy. Using topical problems such as substance abuse, body image, and class divide as metaphors for social and psychological fractioning, Brannon pits visual ‘ideals’ versus internalised corruption to create conceptual instances of breakdown. In Hair of the Dog, Brannon’s clip art-style motif reduces the idea of individuality to an infinitely replicable generic. Coupled with a cynical script typeset in ornamental font his blossoms become emblematic of disease, addiction, and futility.
Matthew Brannon
Sick Whore


Silkscreen on paper

76 x 58.5 cm
Matthew Brannon’s prints convey a poetic distillation. Conjuring a complete image from the most meagre information, the ‘messaging’ of Brannon’s images is transferred through their subtlety of form. Situated between luxurious refinement and divested replication, Brannon adopts the associations of design to comment on psychology as by-product of consumer environment. In Sick Whore, Brannon underscores a spindly plant with an abject description or insult. Embossed with the finality of an epitaph, Brannon sums up a totality of a frail, abused, and embarrassing existence.
Matthew Brannon
Other Peoples Money


Silkscreen & embroidery on canvas

254 x 150 cm
Taking emotional vulnerability and solecism as a starting point for investigation, Matthew Brannon often situates his work around themes of self-destructive behaviours that outwardly reflect inner dysfunction, what he describes as “personal pathologies”. Other People’s Money extols the complications of careerism; the image of a limpid dripping/bleeding eel is both trophy and pitiful personification. Brannon describes the grey area of morality in the stark contrast of black and white, cut through by a tread patterned diagonal stripe suggesting a ‘hit and run’ hierarchy of ethics.
Matthew Brannon
People Who Divide People


Silkscreen & embroidery on canvas

254 x 150 cm

In People Who Divide People, Matthew Brannon adapts his eel motif as a logo of power and class divide. The image itself contains multiple symbolism: as loathsome viper, lowly animal, and revolutionary icon of early America. Rendered in black and white, the delicate pattern is reminiscent of both lace and tire tracks. Humorously recalling the colonial motto “Don’t Tread On Me”, Brannon’s snake supplants ideas of freedom liberation as an elitist decal of ‘good taste’.

Matthew Brannon
Switching Positions


Matt black vinyl foil or enamel

Dimensions variable
Matthew Brannon’s Switching Positions is executed as a wall mural. Showing an entanglement of knives, Brannon conceives not a logo of violence, but apathy. Rendered in black and dripping ‘blood’, Brannon’s blades are diminished to the international language of pictograph signposting, exuding an outline of ‘idea’ rather than a portent of immediate threat. Through this reduction, Brannon presents content as void: his weapons are represented by a blank vacancy, precariously balanced in harmonious composition. Emblazoned in grand scale, Switching Positions presents an unnerving propaganda of disconsolation and hopelessness.
Matthew Brannon
Nevertheless (and 4 details)


Wood, steel, aluminum, string, glass, sintra, bulsa foam, acrylic paint, enamel paint, canvas, soap, mouse trap, sound cancelling device, water from a melted ice sculpture

374 x 558 x 401 cm
The title of Matthew Brannon’s sculpture Nevertheless (2010) is an appropriately oblique ‘giveaway’ from an artist known for the subtlety and humour of his language, objects and prints: “Nevertheless,” he points out, “is an adverb comprised of three words: never - the - less. It became my stance against the panic that ensued from the economic collapse. An attempt to answer the question: what can we make when we shouldn’t be making anything?”

Brannon’s answer to the question is to create shop window-like displays and make-believe theatrical sets. Nevertheless was made on the occasion of Brannon’s first show in London in 2009, and it was the perfect departure from other work being made at the time around urban malaise. Brannon, based in New York, dedicated the London show to the idea of the transatlantic sea voyage.

“As I was working I was rereading Evelyn Waugh’s short autobiographical book The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, viewing the cruise episode of his televised Brideshead Revisited, and digesting the ship passage in Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada. There’s much to be said about such close quarters. About being in between lands and lost at sea.”

What Brannon has made is a sculpture of an installation, like a set for an untold story, in which seduction and frustration are masterfully ever unfolding. The scene’s suggestive props (water, curtains, handrails, dirty magazines under the mattress) contrast with an exit sign and rope cordoning off the piece, preventing anyone from entering the installation, and leaving the narrative up to the viewer.

“It’s not interactive but you can imagine it being interacted with. I told everyone it was the set of a play. Of a play about a murder on a ship. It’s true I did write it, but that’s another story. What you’re shown here is just the set. I’m allowing you to put the pieces together yourself. To do what you would with it.”

Matthew Brannon's Biography

Matthew Brannon
Born in 1971, St. Maries, Idaho
Lives and works in New York, NY


The Ventriloquist, Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium

Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The Inevitable and The Unnecessary, Gió Marconi Gallery, Milan

Mouse Trap, Light Switch, Museum M, Leuven, Belgium
Wit’s End, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Reservations, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Kraitchtal, Germany

Nevertheless, The Approach, London, England

The Question is a Compliment, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NY
Grandmothers, Galleria Gio Marconi, Milan, Italy

Where Were We, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, NY
Try and Be Grateful, AGYU, Art Gallery of York University/Toronto, Toronto,Canada

Cum Together, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NY
Shoegazers & Graverobbers, Art 37 Basel: Statements, David Kordansky
Gallery, Basel, Switzerland
Hyena, Jan Winkelmann / Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Meat Eating Plants, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Penetration, Jan Winkelmann / Berlin, Berlin, Germany

If Direction is a Look (with Sarah Morris), Galería Javier López, Madrid,Spain
Exhausted Blood & Imitation Salt, John Connelly Presents, New York, NY

Tatum O’Neal’s Birthday Party, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL

Soft Rock, Künsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany


Beg, Borrow and Steal, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
To Have and Have Not, HALLE 14, Leipzig, Germany, ACC Galerie Weimar, Weimar, Germany

The Feverish Library, organized in cooperation with Matthew Higgs, Petzel Gallery, New York, NY
No. 17 Group Exhibition of Gallery Artists, Casey Kaplan, New York, NY
Brannon, Büttner, Kierulf, Kierulf, Kilpper, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway
Struggle(s), Maison Particulière, Brussels, Belgium

Shape Of Things To Come: The Saatchi Gallery, London
In the Name of the Artists, Contemporary American Art from the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, sponsored by IGUATEMI, São Paulo Biennial Pavilion, São Paulo, Brazil
After Hours: Murals on the Bowery, Art Production Fund and the New Museum, New York, NY
For Love Not Money, 15th Tallinn Print Triennial, KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn, Estonia
Mit Deiner Kunst; Texte Zur Kunst Editionen 1990-2010, Sammlung Haubrok Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, curated by Stacy Engman,
The Contemporary Art Department of The National Arts Club, New York, NY
At Home/Not at Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca
Eisenberg, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Matthew Brannon, Katarina Burin, Charlie Harper: Permanent Transients Air-Conditioned, Country Club, Cincinnati, OH
Cabinet of Curiosities with Pablo Bronstein, Matthew Brannon, Anthea
Hamilton and Wayne Kostenbaum, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham,England
We Pictured You Reading This, Redux Contemporary Art Center,Charleston, SC
Interim in Three Rounds, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NY
Behind the Curtain, Gio Marconi Gallery, Milan, Italy
Owl Stretching Time, curated by Gyonata Bonvicini, Galerie Nordenhake,Berlin, Germany
Matthew Brannon, Mathew Cerletty, David Diao, Daniel Sinsel, Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium
The Space Between Reference and Regret, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NY

Beg, Borrow, and Steal, Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Learn to Read Art: A History of Printed Matter, curated by AA Bronson,
PS.1, New York, NY; Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany
Embrace, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Five, Baibakova Art Projects, Moscow, Russia
No Shoes on the Carpet, Cirrus, Los Angeles, CA
Poor. Tired. Horse., ICA, London, England
Matthew Brannon, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, William E. Jones,
David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
CODE SHARE: 5 continents, 10 biennales, 20 artists, curated by Simon
Rees, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Born in the morning, dead by night, curated by Tony Matelli, Leo Koenig,
Inc., New York, NY
Stuart Sherman: Nothing Up My Sleeve, curated by Jonathan Berger,
Participant Inc, New York, NY

50 Moons of Saturn, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, T2 Torino Triennial,Turin, Italy
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
One Morning I Woke Up Very Early, with Tony Conrad & Nathan Hylden,
Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium
Featuring, Galerie Chez Valentin, Paris, France
Fair Market, curated by Haley Mellin, Rental Gallery, New York, NY
DISPATCH Portfolio Project #2, DISPATCH, New York, NY
One Day I Woke Up Very Early, Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
Kunst Im Heim, Capitain Petzel, Berlin, Germany
Uncertain States of America, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, Gunnar B.
Kvaran, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech
Republic; Songzhuan Art Center, Beijing, China
Acquisitions, Gifts, and Works from Various Exhibitions 1985-2008, curated
by Bob Nickas, White Columns, New York, NY
Mutliplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now, curated Deborah Wye, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

USA Today: New American Art from the Saatchi Gallery, State Hermitage
Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Stuff: International Contemporary Art from the Collection of Burt Aaron, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, MI
On The Marriage Broker Joke, Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
Uncertain States of America, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw,
Poland; Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland; Herning Art Museum,
Denmark; Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris,
FranceE! TATS, curated by Peter Coffin, Palais de Tokyo Museum, Paris,France
(the) Melvins @ (the) Mandrake, The Mandrake, Los Angeles, CA

USA Today: New American Art from the Saatchi Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, London
Social Design, curated by Angelika Stepken, Badischer Kunstverein,Karlsruhe, Germany
Matthew Brannon, Wade Guyton, Patrick Hill, United Artists Ltd., Marfa, TX
Bring the War Home, Q.E.D, Los Angeles, CA, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, NY
Uncertain States of America, Serpentine Gallery, London, England, Center
for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
6.6.06, curated by Jan Tumlir, Gayle and Ed Roski Fine Arts Gallery, USC, Los Angeles, CA
An Ongoing Low-Grade Mystery, Paula Cooper Gallery, curated by Bob Nickas, New York, NY
Exquisite Corpse, Mitchell Algus Gallery, curated by Bob Nickas, New York,NY
Slow Burn, Galerie Edward Mitterrand, curated by Jonah Freeman, Geneva,Switzerland

Uncertain States of America, curated by Daniel Birnbaum, Gunnar B.
Kvaran, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art,Oslo, Norway
Suspended Narration, curated by Maureen Mahoney, Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, TX
Passion Beyond Reason, Wallstreet 1, a Miller/Rockenschaub Project, Berlin, Germany
Temporary Import, Art Forum Berlin, Special Exhibitions, curated by Susanne Titz, Berlin, Germany
Threshold, Max Wigram, London, England
New Tapestries, Sarah Meltzer, New York, NY
We Could Have Invited Everyone, curated by Peter Coffin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, NY
The Most Splendid Apocalypse, curated by Jason Murison, PPOW, New York, NY
Post No Bills, White Columns, curated by Matthew Higgs, New York, NY
There is a City in My Mind, Southfirst, New York, NY
Wordplay, Julie Saul Gallery, New York, NY
Lesser New York, A Fia Backström Production, New York, NY
Greater New York, PS1/MoMA, Queens, NY
We Love Amerika, Jan Winkelmann / Berlin, Germany

Halloween Horror Films, Southfirst:art, New York, NY
Besides, popularity is rather a lumpy concept, no?, curated by Ralf Brog & Petra Rinck, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany
Summer Summary, curated by Roger White, temporary space, New York,NY
Noctambule, D'Amelio Terras at the Fondation Dosne-Bibliotheque Thiers,Paris, France
Curious Crystals of Unusual Purity, curated by Bob Nickas & Steve Lafreniere, PS1/MoMA, New York, NY
Tapestry From An Asteroid, Golinko Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Hohe Berge, Tiefes Tal, curated by Markus Draper, Autocenter, Berlin,Germany
Collection: How I Spent a Year, curated by Bob Nickas, PS1/MoMA, New York, NY
Lumpen Decadents, curated by Gean Moreno, Ingalls & Associates, Miami, FL
Cave Canem, John Connelly Presents, New York, NY

Kult 48 Klubhouse, curated by Scott Hug, Deitch Projects, New York, NY
My people were fair and had cum in their hair (but now they're content to spray stars from your boughs), Curated by Bob Nickas, Team Gallery, New York, NY
Snowblind, with Wade Guyton & Mungo Thomson, John Connelly Presents,New York, NY
Inaugural Exhibition, Golinko Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
I'm Afraid of Everything, Blonde Revolution, New York, NY
Escape from New York, curated by Jason Murison, Summit Art Center, NJ
Corporate Profits vs. Labor Costs, D'Amelio Terras, New York, NY
Parking Lot, Ten in One Gallery, New York, NY
The Melvins, curated by Bob Nickas, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, NY
Late to Work Everyday, curated by Noah Sheldon, DuPreau Gallery,Chicago, IL
Talking Pieces, Text and Image in Contemporary Art, curated by Ute Riese,Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany

Triple Theatre, with Heidie Giannotti, Triple Candie, New York, NY
Dark Spring, curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen & Liam Gillick, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Kraichtal, Germany

Dedalic Convention, curated by Liam Gillick and Annette Kosak, MAK, Vienna, Austria

Luggage, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany
@, curated by Jason Murison, PPOW Gallery, New York, NY

Made Especially for You, curated by Jenelle Porter, Artists Space, New
York, NY
The Wight Biennial, curated by Mungo Thomson, The New Wight Gallery,Los Angeles, CA
MFA Thesis Exhibition, curated by Thelma Golden, Columbia University,New York, NY

1+3=4x1, collaboration with Liam Gillick, curated by Susanne Gaensheimer,
Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst Liepzig, Germany
Oh My God, I live on the thirteenth floor in Holland, doesn't exist in the
United States, or no?, collaboration with George Rush, H. Cleyndertweg 13 space, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Paint as Purpose, curated by Roger Ray and Jesse H. Rivard, Galerie
Purple Gallery, Los Angeles, CA!
New Memory, curated by Slater Bradley, Spanish Kitchen Studios, Los Angeles, CA

The 1995 Banale, curated by Michelle Alpern, RE:Solution Gallery, Los Angeles, CA