“It aint about A SALARY its all about REALITY…”
Fahamu Pecou expands upon his 2011 exhibition in Paris, HARD 2 DEATH, by utilizing his familiar trope of self-portraiture to challenge and dissect society’s representation of black masculinity in popular culture today. The title of his upcoming solo exhibition at Lyons Wier Gallery in NYC, All Dat Glitters Ain’t Goals, is an obvious play on the quote from William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, “all that glitters is not gold.” As with all of Pecou’s exhibitions, the artist’s masterful word play is the root of his exhibition.
Extrapolating from a broad range of popular culture resources, Pecou sifts through rap music, hip-hop culture, and mass media to provide a visual reference that exaggerates and calls into question the persona and “hype” that serves as a bar upon which an entire segment of today’s society measures their worth. The “thug life” lifestyle encompassing exotic cars, “iced out” jewelry, sexy women, drugs and countless non-culpable accounts of criminal exploits litter the lyrics of popular songs and music videos, ultimately infecting the overall perception of “success” in contemporary black male culture.
These ideals contrast starkly with the realities of most black youths, but often become the goals that many aspire to. Some would argue that this display of decadence and disregard is merely entertainment, however to many on the outside looking in, there is no suspension of disbelief. The reading and performance of black masculinity is often greatly dependent upon the reflected images of black men in the media–where hip-hop culture becomes the demonstrative construct.
Hence, Fahamu Pecou is The Shit! The Shit is Pecou’s alter ego who exploits the hip-hop vernacular to address the oversaturation of false images and mislead ideals of wealth and success. The Shit appears as a blinged-out, tatted-up rapper gracing the covers of art and pop culture publications. The over-exaggerated persona and swagger of The Shit is further heightened by the use of subversive commentary, wordplay and colloquialisms scrawled atop Pecou’s large-scale works. These quips directly engage the erroneous posturing proclaimed by today’s black pop culture icons and role models.
Punctuating each painting in All Dat Glitters Ain’t Goals is an original rap song written and performed by Fahamu Pecou. By presenting a familiar and easy entry point via music, the audio component allows an unprecedented immersive experience into Pecou’s work. The music assists in the cyphering the content of the work allowing the artist to conceptually transport the viewer to and through the meaning of All Dat Glitters Ain’t Goals. The entire collection of tracks will be streaming live in the gallery and available via QR codes. There is also a Limited Edition Collector’s EP. To hear a sample track listen below.