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Friday, October 16, 2009

A Death in Glorious Excess; August 29, 2009


"Thanks to all of you that have supported my art and asked when I'll be doing another art show...I'm proud to announce the opening of a new solo exhibition."

I remember sitting in my University dorm, taking a break from packing to head home for the summer, and reading this statement on Mike Shinoda's Homepage on May 3, 2008. Before this, Linkin Park fans had heard very little about the art that would soon take the world by storm in a series of public exhibits showcasing the artwork of Shinoda.

Now, as we come to the end of this incredible series, we find ourselves looking back at the remarkable journey Mike Shinoda took to make it to this day. Today is August 29, 2009, opening day of "Glorious Excess (Dies)."

Glorious Excess is a series of paintings based around "obsession with celebrity culture, consumer addiction, and fascination with excess." We first encountered Shinoda's interpretation of the addiction to the celebrity machine in "Glorious Excess (Born)," an art exhibit he debuted on July 11, 2008 at the Japanese American National Museum located in Los Angeles, California. The display showcased nine brand new pieces featuring an unnamed male star.

The "celebrity" resembled the likes of people such as Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith, who are famous for nothing more than just being famous. He had no particular talent to speak of. He basked almost gloriously in a life of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, living life through red carpets and premieres. Through both hand-designed and low-resolution internet images, we watched the character burning through money and cigarettes, never seeing any wrong with his addiction. His prodigious obsession with everything in excess was appalling and almost disgusting. It was easy to see the man was spiraling downhill quickly, but we never saw that side of the fa├žade, at least not within the walls of this first show.

So, then when "Glorious Excess (Born)" closed its doors on August 3, 2008, we watched our man fade into a sort of dream-like mist. We sat back to await some sort of closure as to what would become of this consumption-obsessed fiend. And then we all closed that chapter of the story.

After the end of Projekt Revolution 2008, Linkin Park dove face-first into writing their fourth studio-album as well as the theme-song and score for the summer 2009 movie "Transformers; Revenge of the Fallen." Very little was heard about the second installation of the Glorious Excess series except that Shinoda planned to debut the sequel to "(Born)" sometime in January of 2009. As if putting more pressure on him, we all demanded information from Shinoda about the second show and how the work was coming along. Finally, after months of waiting, we got word from the artist himself that he had "lain the first paintbrushes to canvas" for the seventeen pieces of "Glorious Excess (Dies)," the closing exhibition of our favorite material-addicted man.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and cleared their calendars for the possible date of the opening, which would again take place at the Japanese American National Museum. However, at the very last second, due to complicated scheduling problems, Shinoda was forced to cancel the January debut of the show.

"Hey everyone,

It looks like my second JANM art show, Glorious Excess (Dies), which was scheduled for January, is going to be postponed. Although I would have liked to hold the show in January, unforeseen scheduling complications have made that goal an impossibility. I apologize to anyone who this change of plans may affect negatively; I wish it were that case that I could make it happen.

[...]

I hope to open the Glorious Excess (Dies) show in late 2009.

Thanks for your understanding."


And so, we sat back once more and waited, perhaps not as patiently as before, but excitedly. Linkin Park continued on with their work on the second "Transformers" movie score and their next album. "Transformers; Revenge of the Fallen" was premiered on June 23, 2009 and the men of the band were there to celebrate the opening with their new song and a short set for fans who attended the show. Afterward, it was heavily rumored that Shinoda would finally be putting his art for "Glorious Excess (Dies)" on display in August of 2009.

Shinoda himself didn't necessarily refuse to give information on the matter, but also didn't divulge if the rumors could be taken as true. Finally, in July 2009, word came from Shinoda via his blog for when we could hope for the opening of "(Dies)," and included information on what to expect:

"My GLORIOUS EXCESS DIES art show is returning to Los Angeles on August 29th! It opens at the Japanese American National Museum, and stays open from August 30th to October 4th. There will be seventeen new pieces, plus a new video documentary. I will be attending the opening, available for autographs if you're interested :) The money from the show, as usual, goes to charity."

Through information from Shinoda, we've learned a little about the fate of this celebrity character we've been watching for a little over a year. After his ridiculously excessive lifestyle in the first installation of the show, our man is now falling into the inevitable cycle of downfall that comes with his frivolous ways. This sequel focuses on not the addiction-based man we saw in "(Born)," but rather the implosion of this character into himself, the absolution of death, and the sad truth that no matter what you've collected or who you've become, nothing can go with you in the end.

Shinoda tells us that after everything we've encountered with this "star" we've all loved to hate, "the end will be up to you to interpret."

After a bit of tedious pushing and shoving and a threat of being eaten by a poodle, I was able to make contact with Mr. Shinoda himself for an interview. However, with the busy schedule of setting up for "Glorious Excess (Dies)," he hasn't yet been able to answer the questions given to him. Hopefully, however, they will be answered soon; and we will not hold it against Mike. It takes a lot of work to bring us the amazing art he has, and we understand how preoccupied that keeps him.

Join Mike Shinoda for the reception of "Glorious Excess (Dies)" tonight at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles from 8pm to 10pm. He will have an autograph signing in which Linkin Park Underground members will get first priority. All autographs are on a first come, first serve basis. "Glorious Excess (Dies)" will be on view from August 30 until October 4, 2009. All proceeds of the show will go directly to Music for Relief, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Michael K. Shinoda Endowed Scholarship for the Art Center College of Design.

  • (All information, quotes, and pictures taken from http://www.mikeshinoda.com)

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