Artist David Henry Nobody Jr. Holds Up a Mirror to a World on Fire

Published April 22, 2020

A mix of performance art and photography, the work of David Henry Nobody Jr. is at times humorous, often horrifying, and always prescient. We asked the New York–based provocateur to create pieces that hold up a mirror to the world today. We should have known better.

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ADAM AND EVE WITH RAZOR BLADES (ABOVE)

“We have all tasted of the Apple iPhone in the Garden of Globalist Delights and a new reality and technological mirror is before us, and it is of biblical proportions. We hardly understand what we are seeing and feeling, yet there is a loss of innocence and enormous pain about our bodies and selves in this redefinition, which recalls to me the story of Adam and Eve. As Adumb, I portray a male stupor standing next to Eve. The razor blades are the pain of our scrambled interrelations. Satan is a taxidermy lizard that I found on the street.”

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SELF-PORTRAIT AS BURNING ON THE INSIDE ON THE OUTSIDE

“My father and I built a dollhouse for my sister when I was a kid, and I have always been fascinated with miniatures and their relationship in scale to the human body. This piece is a pretty close approximation of the strange dreams that populate my sleep most nights. I wanted to immerse myself in a fire to feel the feeling of the world being on fire, the sense of Apocalypse Now. In my work as a performance artist, I wear the problems that I see around me. This one was scary to produce.”

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SELF-PORTRAIT AS SWALLOWED BY THE EARTH

“In this piece, I’m taking a look at my own mortality. It’s also a poetic musing on an Earth that may take back its sovereignty from us pesky and invasive humans. Somebody recently left a globe in the trash in my building, and that gave me the idea. This one is a bit sci-fi with a Devo reference. I think about the planet constantly.”

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Camera Help: Anna Yatskevich
Models: Caroline Caldwell and David Henry Nobody Jr.
Makeup: Madison Personette
Pyrotechnics: Mariah Burke
Photography Assistant: Noa West