Justin Cooper is predominantly known for his off-the-wall performances that psychologically challenge both the players’ and viewers’ endurance, as in his first solo show at Monique Meloche gallery in 2006 or more recently during Art Basel Miami in-and-around the pool at the National Hotel in South Beach. However, a long-standing interest in sculpture and drawing has pervaded Cooper’s performances often resulting in dimensional objects that balance between the natural and the manmade. For his 2008 solo show THREAD in Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois Chicago, Cooper used 1 mile of garden hose to create a site-specific installation that functioned as both a drawing in space as well as a set for opening and closing performances. In Paranormaldise, now on view at Monique Meloche gallery in Chicago, Cooper presents a series of sculptures manipulating mostly ready-made materials from familiar places like Home Depot or the Party Store. As the artist states, his new sculptures spring Athena-esque from a cubicle-constructed notion that investigates the delicate line between vacation and hallucination.
Also on view in the project space is Cooper’s 2007 video Studio Visit, about the difficulties sometimes involved with art-making, accompanied by a suite of related drawings.
Justin Cooper graduated in 2005 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in sculpture, performance, and video. He received his BFA from the University of Colorado in 2003 and studied at the Sorbonne, Paris in 2002. Cooper has performed and exhibited in cities worldwide including Hong Kong, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, London, Los Angeles, Mexico and Sweden. His work was recently reviewed by Susan Snodgrass in the September 2008 issue of Art in America. He had a summer residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine 2007 and this summer he will be a Resident Artist at the Djerassi Program in Woodside, CA. Cooper currently teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.