The year is 2004. Facebook is available only to ivy leaguers, Janet Jackson's breast is on display at the Super Bowl, and a documentary film is hitting Americans right in their gut. When Morgan Spurlock created his first film "Supersize Me," he did not know that he would be forever associated with fast food. It is an association he is proud of and, hears about it from janitors, TSA agents, and random passersby just about every day.
Beyond that indelible documentary, Spurlock has gone on to create more than a dozen other films including director credits for "Freakonomics," "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," and most recently, "Mansome," starring Will Arnett and Jason Bateman. Suffice to say, Spurlock's art form is film. However, more often than not, he also finds himself in the art world as a collector and a curator. One of the more memorable attributes to his debut film was his inclusion of artist Ron English. As Spurlock describes it:
At the time he was liberating billboards from their corporate captors and there was one in the east village that had an obese Ronald McDonald....I saw that and I knew I had to figure out who made this. I went to his website and saw more of his work and knew I had to interview him and talk about the pop culture significance of McDonald's. So we go to speak with him and once you see his work in real life, they're so much more incredible than pictures. So at the time I was trying to figure out how the film would be separated and I asked, 'Can we use these in the film?' A lot of people thought he did those paintings for the movie, but all of those he'd already done.
The collaboration with English was mutually beneficial. Besides exposing English's work to a wider audience, the collaboration also opened the doors to a newfound art appreciation for Spurlock. He would eventually go on to collect works by Dave Kinsey, Judith Supine, Dave MacDowell, Ray Caesar, KAWS, and of course Ron English. Spurlock is not a re-seller or auction attendee. He buys work because he loves it, and he displays his collection proudly in his home and in his office. He's mostly drawn to pop, street, and lowbrow art, so it is no surprise that he frequents gallery openings at venues like Gallery 1988 and ThinkSpace Gallery.
In April of last year, Spurlock was asked to curate a show at ThinkSpace entitled "New Blood," which he describes as "a dream come true." He sees it as his duty to support artists and creative professionals, and therefore a show about upcoming artists was a perfect fit for Spurlock. Among the twenty-six artists represented, he included works by Travis Lampe, Dzine, Mark Jenkins, The Date Farmers, Kid Zoom and Tim Biskup to name a few. According to many attendees, the venue was jam-packed and furthered the fandom that surrounds ThinkSpace Gallery, located in Culver City, CA. Spurlock saw the curating process as a memorable experience, and one he would definitely seek to have again.
Spurlock comes across as a genuine art lover in an age of trends and for-profit collecting. He realizes that when you purchase a work of art, the money you spend will likely not be re-cooped by a future selling. Rather, Spurlock sees his collection as something he can pass down to his son. So, instead of following the trends of which artists are garnering the most attention, he relies on his visceral reaction to a piece of art. Just like his films, Spurlock believes that art should be as accessible to as many people as possible. That to bridge the gap between all intellectual and monetary levels is paramount to creating art that everyone can benefit from.
He goes on to state: "I say a lot that it would be great to make a film about the influence of gallery life and the upper echelon's influence on the price of art, which then affects the world of art buyers."
We would like to see that.