Looking to hip-hop as a model for a postmodern practice, Kendell Carter refuses the classification of a “high” discourse against a street or pop culture. Carter’s sculptural installations and recent works on paper blend urban street culture with traditional decorative elements — Kangol hat lamp shades, Wassily chairs upholstered in puffy jackets, graffiti tag coat racks. The result is clever and playful, yet the superficial humor of these cultural juxtapositions only briefly conceals the historical conflicts and contemporary issues that they ultimately reference and reveal. This decorative sampling and re-mixing acts as both a celebration and parody, embodying a society where social distinctions are becoming increasingly indiscernible; traditional luxuries are antiquated, urban becomes desirable and street culture is glamorized through songs, television and music videos. Carter’s interiors highlight the idea that even the most intimate aspects of our lives are reduced to the superficial, their sole purpose being to project the desired image. The viewer, such as in life, must consider and question how to interact with these uncanny spaces. His work acts as a catalyst, spurning a dialogue involving race relations, consumerism, wealth and utility.
Kendell Carter was born in New Orleans and lives in Los Angeles. He received a BFA from Atlanta College of Art in 1994, studied environmental design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and received a MFA from California State University, Long Beach, CA in 2006, Kendell Carter had his first solo show at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2006/07 and received critical acclaim in publications such as Art In America, Sculpture Magazine, LA Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. Recent exhibition include solo shows at Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles and Finesilver Gallery, Houston, and the group show “Blacks in and out of the Box” at The California African American Museum, LA.