Wes Lang dances through the bone-yard of America’s tattered narrative embracing both the darkness visible in gallows humor and the risky taunting of viewers in the face of their own taboos. Referencing the alternating pattern of American optimism and obliviousness, from the brash self-promotion and electric voice of Walt Whitman to the booze-fueled failure and heartbreak of Willie Nelson, Lang seeks the source of our duplicity by way of the traditions in our perversions and the pungent stink of our proudest moments. Expounding the violence inherent in our sexual, racial and cultural customs and all the passion of our literary, artistic and political legacies, Lang takes subject matter both canonical and vernacular at dead reckoning. In the end, he skirts political perils and pratfalls by exposing the contradictions in damning our distinctly American vision so steeped in assumptions of protection beyond the pale.
This solo show is Lang’s third at ZieherSmith. His work has also been seen in exhibitions in Berlin at Peres Projects; in New York at Alexander and Bonin, Greenberg Van Doren, and Andrea Rosen Gallery; in Athens at the Deste Foundation and Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre; among others.