Right in time to hear the recent release of R. Kelly’s 12th solo studio album, Black Panties, The World Famous is hosting “The R. Kelly House Party,” an eclectic art exhibit and dance party combo, on Friday, Dec. 13, beginning at 10 p.m. Brock Gordon, a 2013 graduate of the MFA program at UGA’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, will exhibit a series of paintings that recreate the R. Kelly mansion room by room. DJ Quincy (John Swint of Modern Skirts) will provide a special R. Kelly-themed set, and chapters of the infamous “Trapped in the Closet” rap opera will be screened throughout the night.
Read the artist statement below.
In this series of paintings Gordon recreates the R. Kelly mansion room by room. Each room is not an actual depiction of Kelly’s mansion; rather the paintings make suggestions as to what they might be like. In Living Room, a wrap around couch and fireplace invite the viewer in while a Beluga whale floats in a huge glass aquarium on the far wall. In Bedroom, a river runs through the space while mountain goats forage for food. In some instances, Gordon subverts the expectation of the viewer by painting rooms which are less extravagant than we suppose. Kitchen, for example, features a very simple and wholesome space which contrasts from the singer’s description in his song “Sex in the Kitchen.” The viewer is then left to imagine and recreate what freaky happenings they expect to see in the often sparse interiors based on what they know or don’t know about Robert Kelly. The paintings borrow the sexy simplicity of Kelly’s songs: each couch is painted with the bluntness in which Kelly tells us he will satisfy the ladies. Playing off of this simplicity is a strange psychological space created in the paintings by the interaction of Kelly and the viewer within “his mansion.”
In a nod to the recent foreclosure of the R. Kelly mansion, each room is sparsely decorated yet still inhabited. While Kelly isn’t in any of the paintings, he is a constant presence: on a television screen in the Living Room, on a t-shirt in the Laundry Room, on a Wheaties box in the Kitchen, and in a painting of himself in Hallway. In this way, the viewer is constantly followed by Kelly as they explore each room. Kelly’s mansion’s foreclosure is one example of many recent complicated celebrity economical problems. Kelly’s default on his house loan is one case in many where his nonpayment isn’t because of his lack of money. He is simply not willing to continue paying mortgage on a house that lost so much value in the housing market crash. The R. Kelly House Party at the World Famous is a celebration of art and music in place of R. Kelly’s now foreclosed mansion.
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