Smells Like Teen Spirit
Commemorating the ten-year anniversary of Fast Friends Inc. – artist Jason Yates’ satirical sub-culture “enterprise” – comes Blabber and Smoke, an edition of scratch and sniff stickers discharging the malodorous scent of an ashtray.
Load up on guns, bring your friends. It’s fun to lose and pretend.
Yates began exhibiting highly-laborious, one of a kind, large-format poster works in specific Los Angeles public spaces and dive bars in 2002, each free for the taking. Adopting the context of a concert poster, Yates advertised friends’ bands and parties, and before long, the artist quickly became associated with these work’s quizzical neo-psychedelic make-up of reflective Mylar, marker, yarn, glitter, novelty stickers, googly eyes and drug-noir slogans. With the additional platform of MySpace, the imagery of “Fast Friends Inc.” worked itself through a free market with profile-to-profile shares, making fast friends, and inducting the Fast Friends Inc. bat head emblem into the “Top Friends” of everyone from Anton Newcombe to prepubescent Finnish girls who perhaps only admired the work’s rainbow colors and unicorns.
Our little group has always been, and always will until the end.
A mirror on Yates’ own environment and community, the works produced under the “Fast Friends Inc.” umbrella are teeming with derangement, seeking some form of systemization through the chaos that stems from being a struggling artist with a future and career uncertain. Compulsive, self-destructive, cannibalistic, “fun” – all ways to pass the time.
With the lights out, it’s less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us.
Ten years after the inception of Fast Friends Inc., Yates now articulates a similar, but evolved dialogue within a gallery context, most recently a “Critic Pick” in ArtForum for his solo exhibition Master and Servant at Land of Tomorrow Gallery (Louisville, April 2012) and the Barbara Davis Gallery (Houston, June 2012). Last year, Fast Friends Inc. was highlighted in prize-winning art critic Chris Kraus’ book, Where Art Belongs (Semiotexte, 2011) in which Kraus examined important, artistic enterprises of the past decade.
When asked if Fast Friends Inc. has been retired, Yates answers: “It never worked in the first place.”