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Future Shock

524 West 19th Street

1 February - 10 March 2018


Press Release


NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MILES McENERY GALLERY is pleased to announce Future Shock, an exhibition of recent paintings by Brian Alfred. The exhibition will open 1 February at 524 West 19th Street and remain on view through 10 March 2018. A public reception will be held for the artist on 1 February from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Ridley Howard, Sarah K. Rich, and Erik den Breejen. 

“We got to stop all men from messing up the land When won’t we understand
This is our last and only chance
Everybody, it’s a future shock”

-Curtis Mayfield, “Future Shock,” 1973 

Taking its title from Alvin Toffler’s 1970 novel and Herbie Hancock’s 1983 album, Brian Alfred’s Future Shock embraces both of their messages and expands upon them. Toffler warns of an impending information overload as well as humanity’s inability to adapt to the ever-increasing speed of industry and consumerism. Alternatively, Hancock’s album welcomes the so-called information overload, praising the expansion of musical possibilities brought on by technology

Alfred embraces the duality of Toffler and Hancock, exploring how progress and development have impacted our environment and society. These paintings exhibit a certain serene beauty, while simultaneously trembling with a foreboding sense of impending doom. From the colorful zest of endless laundry hanging off of the crowded balconies of a giant apartment building, to the quiet elegance of a cropped solar panel, to the soothing repetition of greenhouse fields—each work appears benign and tranquil on the surface, but upon closer inspection contains an underbelly of danger and caution. 

Though Alfred’s influences date from over thirty years ago, his works make their message as relevant and topical as ever. Seed banks, gas explosions, floods, overpopulation, smog, and technology are the subjects that press his mind, making the viewer wonder: do we panic, do we collapse? Or do we stand watching the sunset, embracing the beauty of the polluted sky? How do we deal with this future shock?


BRIAN ALFRED (b. 1974 in Pittsburgh, PA) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997 from Pennsylvania State University and his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1999 from Yale University. 

He has had numerous solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include “Techno Garden,” Maho Kubota Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; “New Animations,” Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; “Beauty in Danger,” Salon 94 Video Wall, New York, NY; “It’s Already the End of the World,” Frist Center for Visual Art, Nashville, TN; “Co-op,” Giraud Pissarro Ségalot, New York, NY; “Rise Above,” Haunch of Venison, London, England; “It’s Already the End of the World,” Haunch of Venison, New York, NY; “Majic Window,” Studio La Città, Verona, Italy; “Millions Now Living Will Never Die!!!,” Haunch of Venison, Berlin, Germany; “Global Warmings,” SCAI the Bathhouse, Tokyo, Japan; “Surveillance,” Haunch of Venison, Zurich, Switzerland; “Space is the Place!,” Mary Boone Gallery, New York, NY, and “The Future is Now!,” Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and “Overload,” Max Protetch Gallery, New York, NY.

Selected group exhibitions include “In An Illusion Village: Our Form Connected by Media Art,” Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori City, Japan; “Mercury Retrograde: Animated Realities,” Galerija Galzenica, Velika Gorica, Croatia; “100 Works for 100 Years: A Centennial Celebration,” Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ; “Uncanny Congruencies,” Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; “Videosphere: A New Generation,” Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; “Me, Undoubtedly. 1309 Faces,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany; “Aichi Triennale,” Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Japan; “Surface Tension,” South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN; “New Art for a New Century: Contemporary Acquisitions 2000-2010,” Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; “Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks,” Den Frie Udstilling (Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art), Copenhagen, Denmark; “The Shapes of Space,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; “American Academy of Arts and Letters Invitational Exhibition,” American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY; “Radar: Selections from the Kent and Vicki Logan Collection,” Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; “Metropolis,” National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; and “Digital Showcase,” Austin Museum of Digital Art, Austin, TX. 

His work may be found in many permanent collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Phoenix Museum of Art, Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. 

Alfred is also the host of a podcast that he created and runs called Sound & Vision, which is continually ranked among the top visual arts podcasts in iTunes. He has recorded over 85 conversations with artists and musicians since its inception almost two years ago. 

Alfred is the recipient of the Jerome Foundation Grant, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival, Pennsylvania State University Alumni Achievement Award, Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, Pennsylvania State University Alumni Award, New York Foundation of the Arts Inspiration Award, Phelps Berdan Memorial Award, Skowhegan Match Scholarship, and the Edwin Zoller Scholarship. 

Brian Alfred lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.