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Thu Aug 13, 2020, 04:13 PM

WINSTON TSENG: STREET PROVOCATEUR BRINGS "TRASH" CAMPAIGN TO NYC

AT THE END OF THE DAY WHEN ONE IS TOWING THE LINE OF BEING PROVOCATIVE,” SAYS STREET ARTIST WINSTON TSENG, “YOU MAY CROSS THAT LINE IN SOME PEOPLE’S MIND BUT I THINK IF ONE IS NOT TRYING TO FIND THAT LINE THEN THE WORK IS NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY IMPACT.”

Winston Tseng has probably been crossing that line, pissing off some people and making others laugh for a few years now. He appears to consider it an honor, and possibly a responsibility. Relatively new on the Street Art scene the commercial artist and art director has also created his 2-D characters on canvasses and skate decks that depict the abridged characteristics of a typecast to play with the emotions and opinions of passersby.

Perhaps it is all part of a tide of the reductivist cartoonish images that are flying at you from corporate cable and corporate mainstream and corporate candidates, but you may begin to wonder if simplifying and vilifying is the result or the cause of the polarization. And as Street Art continues to reflect us back to ourselves, the satirists are quick and blunt as well. Otherwise, how could they hope to get our attention?

The stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce outraged people in the 1960s with his provocations that melded satire, politics, religion, sex, and vulgarity – even earning him arrest for obscenity. Street Artist Ron English engorged Ronald McDonald on billboard takeovers to target obesity and fast food, Jon Feckner illustrated structural racism by labeling institutional neglect of certain neighborhoods in the 70s and 80s, and politicians are routinely turned into pigs and other animals on stencils, stickers and aerosol paintings for effect.

Satire, provocative or relatively benign, can be expressed as a caricature that exaggerates qualities as grotesque; a critique with a biting jab. You will see it played out in Tseng’s other works – an iPhone chatting, Starbucks swilling white Millennial plays into stereotypes of a privileged verbally-challenged belly-gazing consumer class. An Asian woman in traditional dress waves a hand fan of dollars that confirm her drive for wealth. A fake ad for “Christian Mingle” features an older priest reciting a Madonna lyric to a younger one with an excited gaze that calls to mind the multiple Catholic pedophile scandals in the news.

In one collection of canvasses that Tseng created for the gallery, simplified elements of typical archetypes of modern men are featured in profile – a Hasidic Jew with pais, an Arab with beard and keffiyeh, a US soldier with camo helmet, a bearded hipster wannabe with truckers cap – but each is coupled and holding one another’s face and looking into the eyes of the other. The series of pairings challenges preconceptions about masculinity, religion, societal roles, human costumery and what close physical proximity may imply.

SEE the political art work here
https://www.brooklynstreetart.com/2018/10/25/winston-tseng-street-provocateur-brings-trash-campaign-to-nyc/

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