Oli Watt: Here comes a regular

Gallery 5 

Chicago conceptual artist Oli Watt uses dad humor and everyday objects to shift pop culture perceptions

Hyde Park Art Center is pleased to present Here Comes a Regular, the first exhibition surveying the comically absurd work by conceptual artist Oli Watt. Once described as the unsung hero of appropriation, Watt has been producing and exhibiting prints, sculptures, installations, and new neon works since 1999, all of which use a unique brand of “dad humor” to shift our perception of pop culture. Oli Watt: Here Comes a Regular will be on view in Gallery 5 and the Foyer Project Space at Hyde Park Art Center from September 22, 2013 through January 12, 2014.

Watt generates his artwork from the desire to make real the fictional objects that mark pivotal humorous moments encountered in cartoons, novels, films, music, and personal history narratives. Store receipts, wine bottles, playing cards, horseshoe magnets, and McDonald’s hamburger wrappers are examples of the average material goods Watt gravitates towards to make or remake by hand. According to Watt, “I treat [the object] like I’m a band performing a cover song. I recreate it in hopes of internalizing it and better understanding it.”

Oli Watt (b. 1968) is a Chicago-based artist and educator. Exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Spencer Brownstone, New York, Rocket Gallery, London, and the Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago. His work has been published and received reviews in Art on Paper, Art US, New Yorker, New Art Examiner, and the Village Voice. Watt is the recipient of the Maxine and Stuart Applebaum Award of Excellence and the Tweed Museum of Art Purchase Award. Watt received a MFA in printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he has been Adjunct Assistant Professor since 2003.

Here Comes a Regular is held in conjunction with A Study in Midwestern Appropriation, in which Watt is also an exhibiting artist, to explore in depth the work of a notable local artist who influences the artistic production of his peers and emerging artists.

Oli Watt: Here Comes a Regular will be on view from September 22, 2013 – January 12, 2014 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 South Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60615; 773.324.5520 and www.hydeparkart.org. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public.

Image: Oli Watt, Le Penseur, 2013, neon, 48 x 36 inches, created with assistance from the Faculty Enrichment Grant from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.