The Rise and Fall of Shame, Jason Yates‘ summer exhibition at Circus Gallery, blurs the boundaries between high and low art, making the art world’s obsession with cultural elitism seem prosaic and stifling. On Circus’ first floor, Yates’ ink, paper and mylar “paintings” riff off of Jasper Johns’ Corpse and Mirror vocabulary, using hatch marks to set up a striking conversation between minimalist clarity and expressionist mark-making. Upstairs, Yates’ posters (he makes these under the name “Fast Friends Inc”) marry the same hatch-mark patterns with rock-fan exuberance. Jagged patterns drawn on the gallery walls make Yates’ point decidedly clear: there’s not much difference between the canvas-confined marks we art-snobs value and the language of taggers and punks.
In 2000, Yates’ graduated from Art Center in Pasadena. He has since shown at A+D Museum, Glendale College Gallery, and Black Dragon Society, among other venues (and non-venues–Yates doesn‚Äôt let his work be solely confined to galleries). Over the past two decades, he has also made posters for numerous bands and concerts.