Public Projects

Ed Young:
Wall Paintings

ED YOUNG “New Work (wall painting)”


Exhibition runs through December 31, 2008


        (Miami, FL, March, 2008)  Locust Projects started its year- long mural project with an eye-catching “I Love New Work” painted on its façade. This mural was conceptualized and executed by subversive South African artist Ed Young.  Young devised a running dialogue of four text-based murals for Locust Projects, and in March Locust unveiled the second of the four murals “Black in Five Minutes”. This will be followed by “666” in August and the finale to be unveiled in early November just in time for Art Basel Miami “It Was Only A Blowjob”.

Ed Young grew up as a white Afrikaans male in South Africa, amongst the minority group of people labeled as being responsible for Apartheid, the law that actively oppressed anyone who was not classified as white.  Young’s work deals with his identity as “the oppressor” and he consciously creates work that makes himself out to be the bad guy. In his solo exhibition entitled “Asshole” at Bell Roberts Gallery, South Africa in 2003 Art Critic Andrew Lamprecht wrote of Young’s work “Bend over and moon someone. That is the way of the asshole. Assholic actions are cruel and stupid: they also force us to grow. They are not clever, like the jester’s suggestions and they are not cunning like the trickster.  They make us cross: force us to grow”

The sheer audacity of his statements illicit shock and dismay and anger. By provoking a response from the viewer Young forces a thought process, an emotion and sometimes even action. In Miami, Young’s murals have already stirred strong reaction. In only one month the mural had been defaced by an unknown person throwing white paint over the mural’s text.  

Reveling in his bad boy image Young’s response to this was “don’t care”.   However Young is hyper aware of the reaction his works solicit and sees this as inherent to his practice. He is forcing the viewer to react to him and in so doing subverts his position as the bad guy making them, through their responses, the oppressor. Many critics have labeled Young a “racist”, denying the validity of his work due to the context from which he works, and in so doing denying his voice and credibility of perspective.

Visiting Miami in November 2007, Young recognized that a commentary like  “Black in Five Minutes” would be as equally relevant to a Miami context in a neighborhood such a Wynwood that is increasingly gentrifying.  Showing at an alternative art space like Locust Projects was a great fit for Young’s nonchalant attitude and dismissive one liners that stand in opposition to the ideology of the institution and issues of censorship.

In a cunning way Young is an activist through his rebellion. When asked to comment Young says " I'm really, really sorry."

“666” will be unveiled in August 9, 2008

“It Was Only a Blowjob” will be unveiled November 8, 2008


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