Hopped up on a large dose of genetically modified corn products, artist Jon Brumit has created a bomb shelter-meets laboratory in the project room at Steven Wolf Gallery in San Francisco. Appropriately titled, Monsanto’s Workshop after the biotech company Monsanto, which specializes in chemically hybridizing seeds for agricultural use, Brumit pokes fun at serious issues through his mixed media installations. Plastic grocery bags are recombined into a parade-float-balloon-like corncob-esque sculptures that, with the help of a fan, appear to be breathing and moving as if they are alive. The trash to treasure modus operandi which Brumit employs speaks of environmental disasters and human complicity. Brumit’s interest in sound art is seen in all his work, and in Monsanto’s Workshop he has displayed a radio transmitter that has been altered with corn residue and appears to be dysfunctional, broadcasting fuzzy post-apocalyptic noises. The whole project room looks as if a natural disaster has occurred and the occupant was taken from the scene or had to flee in a mad dash. A workshop table is covered with plastic corn cobs, nine-volt batteries, hot glue guns, light bulbs, and old coffee cups resembling a mad scientist’s desk covered with dollar store inventory.
Brumit is an artist who does not fit inside any box, constantly changing his works, installations, and projects. They remain on the border of humor, social activity, community, and faux pas. Brumit has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe, with radio programs being broadcast all over the world. He has shown at Chelsea Art Museum, deYoung Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and presented Neighborhood Public Radio (NPR) at the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Brumit received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and currently lives and works in Chicago.