Adam Thompson

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Artist Statement

My work is a kind of visual idea factory. I make thousands of drawings as well as collages and videos, each image attempting to crystalize a surprising visual thought in a compelling and economical form. This body of work began with a self-imposed assignment: As an antidote to the tedium of laboring over large scale projects, I began a series of diagrammatic drawings exclusively using mechanical pencil on 8.5 x 11 paper. This humble, uniform format established a low-stakes situation in which I could explore ideas without having to press them into the service of a larger creative agenda. Each piece of paper presented a fresh start, a tiny creative resurrection, and the result was a profusion of imagery more varied and peculiar than I ever could have anticipated. The sober, Apollonian, diagrammatic aesthetic somehow offered the perfect catalyst for a Dionysian explosion of absurd content: weird juxtapositions, corny jokes, visual puns, art history references, puzzling abstractions, mixed-up half-sense of all sorts. The unity and simplicity of the diagrammatic language implies a continuity among the heterogenous content, eroding distinctions between real and imaginary, clever and dumb, conceptual and illustrative, high-brow and low-brow, masterful and ham-fisted, etc.

A number of spinoff projects have departed from the formal confines of the original series. Certain sets of images evolved into networked groups of interrelated drawings (as in Matrix and Web). Other drawings became animations and slideshows (as in Labyrinth), and others became large scrolls (as in White Woods). In the video Gallerie Effacement, imaginary art by fictional artists appears and disappears in a gallery space, each “exhibition” peeling away to reveal the next. In the videos Pan and An Education, animated photo collage is used to carry the viewer through a kaleidoscopic series of strange environments and situations. But throughout, the drawing work has formed the backbone of the practice – the steady beat from which every other riff departs. The most recent set of drawings takes a novel form: I have made a “choose your own adventure” style online game called 6CLIX, in which a drawing changes according to the player’s choices (Open or Close, Bury or Cremate, Brush or Floss, etc.), and through a series of clicks one is lead through one of 64 branching narratives (and then begins again, to explore a new set of possibilities).

Because the imagery depicted in my work is constantly shifting, the true content of the work can be difficult to identify. Subjects are taken up, poked and prodded, and then set aside, such that no particular subject takes center stage. Nor is it accurate to say that subject is the self, at least not in a heavily psychological, capital “S” Surrealist sense; the tone is far too light and deadpan. The true subject matter is the mechanics (rather than the meaning) of thought – the way we are perpetually caught between the churn of our minds and the matter-of-fact, tangible world before us. Our imaginations are always running ahead of our physical, practical selves, tumbling headlong down a million blind alleys that lead nowhere useful or particularly meaningful, but which in aggregate constitute a truer autobiography than our paltry allotment of actions.




2008 MFA, Visual Art, Brooklyn College (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY

2004 BA, Art History, Yale University, New Haven, CT

2006  School of Visual Arts (visual arts courses)

Selected Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions and Projects:

2014  Adam Douglas Thompson: Loose Ends, Artslant Prize Exhibitions, Chicago, Il

2013  Auxiliary Projects at Untitled Fair/Art Basel, Miami, FL (Omar Lopez-Chahoud, curator), Brooklyn, NY

2013  Adam Thompson: From the Desk of Adam Thompson, Auxiliary Projects (Project Space), Brooklyn, NY

2013  Adam Thompson: Labyrinth, The Drawing Center, Online Animation Exhibition Series, New York, NY

2010  #1359-#1458, (2 person exhibition) Sara Meltzer Gallery/Projects, New York, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions and Projects:

2015  Plus One, Plus One, Lab Space, Hillsdale, NY

2014  ArtSlant Prize Exhibition, Aqua Art Miami, Miami, FL

2014  Generator – 6th Cairo Video Festival, Medrar, Cairo, Egypt

2014  Local Area Network, Digital Arts Gallery at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

2014  Dark Map, Lesley Heller Gallery, New York, NY

2014  Videorover 8, Nurture Art, Brooklyn, NY

2013  Drawing Connections, The Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA (James Hull, curator)
2013    Space/Time, Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, NY

2012  Drawings for The Believer 10, no. 2 (2012): 15, 27, 28, 48, 56, 60.

2012  Intramurals, AFA gallery, Scranton, PA

2011  Copia Cartacea, Studio 10/Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2011  Entanglement, Regina Rex Gallery and Art Blog Art Blog, New York, NY

2011  Copia Cartacea, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2011  Nautical Notes: Mari, Navi e Naufragi, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2010  Collaboration with author Rick Moody – Electric Literature: Single Sentence Animation

2010  Drawings for Electric Literature, no. 3 (2010): 1, 9, 15, 34, 47, 65, 87, 109, 113, 114, 118

2010  Collaborative Forgeries, or Forged Collaborations, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2010 See, Also, Central Booking, Brooklyn, NY

2009  Paper in the Wind 3, 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York, NY (David Gibson, curator)

2009  Recess, Crossing Art, Flushing, NY (Jennifer Junkermeier, curator)

2009  Intus Tensio, or Appropriated Special, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2008 Brooklyn College MFA Thesis Exhibition, at NYCAMS New York, NY

2008  Entanglement is Good, Entanglement is Great, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2008  Mostra Inaugurale, Centotto, Brooklyn, NY

2007  The Seven Stages of Global Catastrophe, collaborative performance piece, Little Theater series at Dixon Place, New York, NY

2007 The Morton Umbrella Girl, performance piece, Little Theater series at Tonic, New York, NY

2006 Too Close to Home, 510 Halsey Art Space, Brooklyn, NY


2014  ArtSlant Prize, 2nd Place

2007  Nomination, Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant

Publications (Books):

2010 Adam Thompson, #1359-#1458. New York: Regency Arts Press, 2010. Print.

2008 Paul Fattaruso and Adam Thompson, Bicycle. New York: Hotel St. George Press, 2008. Print.

Publications (Selected Art Criticism):

2012  Review of Matthew Northridge, Art Papers 36, no. 1 (2012): 58.

2011  Review of The Chadwicks, Art Papers 35, no. 4 (2011): 64.

2010  Review of Liam Gillick, Art Papers 34, no. 4 (2010): 62.

2009  Review of Katrin Sigurdardottir, Art Papers 33, no. 4 (2009): 62.

2009  Review of Brian Lund, Art Papers 33, no. 3 (2009): 63.

2009  Review of Eunice Kim, Art Papers 33, no. 1 (2009): 62.

2008  Review of Jackie Gendel, Art Papers 32, no. 6 (2008): 68.

2008  Review of Marcel Dzama, Art Papers 32, no. 4 (2008): 66.

2008  Review of Enantiomorphic Chamber, Art Notes 20 (2008): 65.

2007  Review of Michael Schall and Jonathan Schipper, The Brooklyn Rail, April 2007.

2007  Review of Lynda Benglis + Louise Bourgeois, Art Papers 31, no. 6 (2007): 73.

2007  Review of Jonathan Meese and Tal R, Art Papers 31, no. 3 (2007), 70.

2007  Review of Doug Aiken, Art Papers 31, no. 3 (2007) 69.

2007  Review of Adam McEwen, Art Papers 31, no. 1, (2007) 63-64.

2006  Review of Catherine Opie, Art Papers 30, no. 6, (2006) 64.

2006  Review of Matthew Higgs, Art Papers 30, no. 5, (2006) 60.

2006  Review of Pepon Osorio, Art Papers 30, no. 2, (2006) 64.


Panero, James, “The Miami Fairs,” The New Criterion, Jan. 2014

Kimball, Whitney, “In Miami, UNTITLED’s a Quiet Contender,” ArtFCity, Dec. 7, 2013

Colucci, Emily, “Here’s Who’ll Be Reppin’ Brooklyn and LES at Miami Art Week,” Bedford+Bowery, Dec. 3,                   2013

Colucci, Emily, “5 Newcomer Artists Debuting at Miami to Watch,” Societe Perrier, Nov. 21, 2013

Levy, Lisa, “Dr. Lisa in Miami: Bushwick is Doing Alright!,” Bushwick Daily, Dec. 12, 2013

Christoph, Sara, “Beat Nite: the boisterous side of the Bushwick art scene” Norte Maar, Feb. 21, 2013

Galgiani, Allison, “Just Beat It: How was the great gallery nite in Bushwick?,” Bushwick Daily, Feb. 20, 2013

Varno, David, “Bicycle by Paul Fattaruso,” Bookslut, April, 2008

Work Experience (Curation):

2011  Memory Palace, Brooklyn College MFA Thesis Exhibition, Flux Factory, Queens, NY

2011  Brooklyn College, College Art Association NY Area MFA Exhibition, Hunter College/Times Square    Gallery, New York, NY 

Work Experience (Teaching):

2014 – 15     Adjunct Lecturer of Fine Art (Design I), Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY

2008 – 15     Adjunct Lecturer of Fine Art (Basic Design), Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

2008 – 13     Adjunct Lecturer of Fine Art (BFA Senior Thesis Seminar), Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

2008 – 13     Adjunct Lecturer of Fine Art (MFA Teaching Internship), Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

2012                Adjunct Lecturer of Fine Art (Beginning Painting), LaGuardia Community College, Queens, NY

2012 – 13     Visiting Instructor of Fine Arts (Light, Color and Design) Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

2010                Visiting Instructor of Fine Arts (Light, Color and Design) Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

2009                Visiting Instructor of Fine Arts (Light, Color and Design) Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY