Since the earliest days of Twentieth Century Falsifim, sculptor, painter and conceptual prankster Abe Lincoln Jr. (whose historicist moniker is derived from a musical performance in which he was shot by a guitarist identified as John Wilkes Booth at a downtown venue) has been blurring the boundaries between utilitarian objects and scatological iconography. For many artists, such dual aspirations come at the expense of intelligibility. But Lincoln Jr.’s work has repeatedly proven that symbols that slip and slide, and carry with them a historical residue, need not be limited to archetypal obfuscations. In other words: the cardboard of his sculptures, the fabric of his t-shirts and the vinyl of his toys are generally of a very high quality.
This is not to say that the conceptual nature of his work does not merit deep examination. In his drawings, priapic and prurient concerns share the spotlight, infusing banality with a veil of transcendence. The imagery straddles disparate boundaries, crescendoing in pieces such as the conceptualist installation Taquería Pendejo, and offering abstract resonances that domesticates viewers and gradually orients the public towards ideological, spiritual, and celestial elucidations that co-exist on many levels in one space. His conceptual output, rich in ritual and similarly didactic, is the product of a Neo-Dadaist sensibility. Yet, while those earlier offerings of absurdist philosophy relied heavily on intrinsically academic historical devolution, Lincoln Jr.’s mordant ruminations on human frailty grapple with quasi-existential, meta-metaphorical anxieties that infuse his oeuvre with Proustian resonance.
The result is an artisanal aesthetic that furtively inverts the paradigm between the ethereal and the mundane, and transforms spectatorial reverence into compulsory collusion. Ultimately, it’s a body of work that interrogates the entropic nature of both physical and philosophical constructs, it invents puzzles out of non sequiturs to seek congruence in seemingly incongruous situations, and, throughout, questions the very nature of attachment—but also abhorrence—of the excremental nature of human discourse.