My job as an artist is to look below the surface and find a deeper meaning and action.
Artist Jay Critchley defies easy description. He is a conceptual, multi-media performance artist, writer and activist who creates controversial art with ironic jabs at capitalism, democracy and the media.
Critchley will show photos and videos of his work, talk about his ideas and invite discussion in his ARTfull Thursday presentation at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (CCMoA) on November 8 at 6 pm.
Included in the talk will be The Whiteness House, a 14 foot long tarred and feathered installation, recently created at an artist residency at the Sante Fe Art Institute that raised questions of race, whiteness, and politics. He will also talk about ideas from his recent TEDX Talk, “Portrait of the Artist as a Corporation,” a concept that appears in much of his work.
“My job as an artist is to look below the surface to find a deeper meaning and action,” Critchley says.
In his work over the years, Critchley has addressed AIDS, America’s car culture, sewage, nuclear energy and more.
He has also used his dynamic energy to create rituals of healing as a modern day shaman. In his yearly Provincetown Re-RootersNew Year’s community ceremony, Critchley sends a bonfire of discarded Christmas trees into the sea, inviting all to purge the stresses of the past year and to make a commitment to connect more deeply to the earth.
Critchley says, “My concern for the Earth’s sustainability keeps me appreciative of each day I have to revel in its splendor. It’s about quality of life for all, including environmental justice, inequality and countering the uber-capitalistic tendencies of our ‘democracy.’ ”
Here are just a few of the artist’s recent projects:
A retrospective exhibition of his work, Jay Critchley Incorporated, curated by Bailey Bob Bailey, was shown at Provincetown Art Association and Museum in 2015 and at the University Galleries, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in 2016.
Critchley was honored in 2012 by the Massachusetts State Legislature as an artist and director of the Provincetown Community Compact, producer of the Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla, which has raised $5 million for AIDS and women’s health since 1983.
His one-act experimental musical, Planet Snowvio, about the meeting of Free Speech Movement leader Mario Savio and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was recently read at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
He created the inspired Ten Days That Shook the World installation in 2012 before the demolition of the 1953 Herring Cove Beach Bathhouse.
Deep Bones, his 2011 video and performance show in New York City, received key reviews in the New York Times, The New Yorker and the Village Voice.
Critchley has taught at the Museum School at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and has had artist residencies at: Harvard University, Massachusetts; AS220, Rhode Island; Harvestworks, New York City, New York; Williams College, Massachusetts; Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut; Milepost 5, Portland, Oregon; Fundacion Valparaiso, Mojacar, Andalucia, Spain; and CAMAC, Marnay-sur-Seine, France.
He is currently represented by the AMP Gallery in Provincetown.