Recap: "That Was Now, This Is Then" New Works by Kelly D. Williams

Juxtapoz // Thursday, 26 Mar 2009

The title of Kelly D. Williams’ exhibit That Was Now, This Is Then (on view now through April 10th, 2009 at DDR Projects Art Gallery in Long Beach, California) is intended to encourage thought regarding the worthlessness of our worldly artifacts (e.g. cellular telephone devices, planned obsolescence, etc.), and also to describe the time Williams has spent scattering dust bunnies and researching his old art in preparation for this show of entirely new work.

Williams has always been fascinated with the idea and nostalgia of mid-century style and how that era appeared so lustrous, yet unpreserved relics would be reduced to rot if examined today, just like things that we value today will certainly seem peculiar to subsequent generations.

Williams believes, “It’s the idea, the concept that is valuable.” Therefore, actual rust and oxidation were included in many of Williams’s paintings and sculptures for this exhibit, in a lengthy and messy process.

Also on display are several of his writ/poetry paintings that he likes to call “Richard Prince paintings,” as they are in the same vein as Prince’s joke paintings. Williams believes that Prince was and is the most brilliant of thieves. He was also the inspiration for “1953 Chrysler”, a readymade piece that was too large for the inside of the gallery, so it only exists within this show in the form of a C-Print photograph.

This is by far the most costly, complex, and time-consuming show Williams has done to date, based mostly on the “re-stuckist concepts” that he has recently reconciled with. Williams has also included a “drawing” which contains an application for funds from the USFR TARP Capital Borrowing Program, allowing you to apply for a financial bailout like corporate taskmasters; past, present, and future in a mash of now. “Uncle Neil was right, ‘Rust never sleeps.’ In fact: while you were reading this, the work in this exhibit appreciated by two million percent; that was now, this is then.”


Kelly was all smiles next to his 'crowbar' piece


Opening reception visitors filled the venue


A peek inside the the gallery space


Jeff McMillan and crew


Tracey Terry and the artist's wife, Rachelle Williams

Photos by Conrad Young & Ashley Rose


More on Kelly D Williams at


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