Justin Cooper


presented by moniquemeloche



Born 1976 in USA

Lives in Chicago, USA



Justin Cooper’s physically intense and theatrical work explores the act and experience of drawing through performance, sculpture, photography, work on paper, and video.   What is often read as slapstick humor on the surface is really an expansive and impulsive articulation of line and form.


Dominic Molon, Curator

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2010




Whether wrestling dinosaurs, creating a living drawing with garden hoses, or having a therapy session gone awry, Justin Cooper is known for his off-the-wall performances that challenge both his and the viewers’ psychological endurance.  However, a long-standing interest in sculpture, drawing, and photography results in work that balances between the natural and the manmade.  Utilizing ready-made materials from places like Home Depot (here OBI), Office Depot or a generic party store, Cooper expresses inner experiences through outward manifestations.  His often ridiculous attempts to capture the subtleties of “being” and “communication,” reveal an awareness that these states can only be hinted at through metaphors, juxtapositions, and poetic arrangements.  His constant pursuit of that inevitable moment of failure reveals a tragic comedy of purposeful futility, imparting a lasting, curious tinge of discomfort. 



Cooper received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005) and his BFA from the University of Colorado (2003) after studying at the Sorbonne, Paris.  He has performed and exhibited in cities worldwide including Hong Kong, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Mexico and Sweden.  Reviews have appeared in ArtForum, Art in America, and most recently in Vogue, and he has been awarded prestigious residencies and grants from the Franconia Sculpture Park, MN, Djerassi Program in Woodside, CA, and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, ME. This spring, Cooper’s drawings and video Studio Visit, 2007 were included in the critically acclaimed exhibition “Production Site” curated by Dominic Molon at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, which acquired three drawings and the video for their permanent collection.



Justin Cooper, First Wet Dream, 2009, wheelbarrow, conch shell, wood and metal, 84 x 45 x 36 inches
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