“Justin Adian’s work is as good as a vinyl top of a 1969 Dodge Charger.” -Richard Prince
Justin Adian lives in Brooklyn, but his Texas upbringing grounds his art. Adian, 38, says both “the landscape and the attitude of Texas” influence his unostentatious works, which often take the shape of puffy geometrical forms (an effect achieved by stretching canvas over ester foam) mounted on the wall. “Within the Texas art community, there’s always been a good place for humor,” he says. He will incorporate witty concepts into sculptures—like Neapolitan, in which three separate pairs of swollen rectangles seem like an aloof minimal sculpture until the viewer realizes each section approximates a color of Neapolitan ice cream. It takes a moment to get it. “But you smile afterwards,” he says. “Each one has its own internal story. I don’t necessarily share the narrative that was in my head when I made them, but people tend to pick up that there is something, and they place their own narrative on there.” A series of ten new works was recently on display at Skarstedt London for an exhibition titled “Strangers.” He’s currently preparing a show for Lever House to open in 2015. It’s been a whirlwind since Richard Prince noticed Adian’s work through a mutual friend around five years ago. “He’s been collecting them since,” says Adian. “I’ve never really chatted with him about what drew him to the work exactly.” It might have something to do with Prince’s affinity for jokes, riddles, and rural America-themes that the elder artist has also used in the past. Meanwhile, Adian heralds the future.