Giant Robot Biennale 2 at the Japanese American National Museum celebrated 15 years of Giant Robot by featuring artists who have graced the pages of the magazine. The first floor featured aspects of the magazine and brand that echo Giant Robot. Ledavhara, an unprecedented three person collaboration of unique designer figures between LeMerde, David Horvath, and Yukinori Dehara. Alongside was a 50 person group exhibition, magazine photo highlights, and more. The second floor included a large exhibition space featuring David Choe and James Jean side by side.
The Japanese American National Museum will premiere the Giant Robot Biennale 2: 15 Years exhibition as part of its continuing Salon Pop series. Developed in collaboration with publisher Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot, the exhibition will run from October 24, 2009 through January 24, 2010 with an opening reception set for October 24, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the National Museum in Little Tokyo. The reception will feature live music and attendance by many of the participating artists and key members of the Giant Robot family.
In 1994 Giant Robot was born with the purpose of documenting and promoting new, up-and-coming, underdog, overlooked, and hybrid Asian and Asian-American popular culture. Fifteen years later, the self-published magazine has not only evolved from a stapled-and-folded "zine" into a full-color, glossy publication with an international following. It has also opened trend-setting shops and influential art galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. To celebrate the magazine's longevity, energy, and loyal readership, the National Museum will host the second Giant Robot Biennale. The first show was installed at the end of 2007.
This multi-faceted exhibition will celebrate the depth and diversity of perspectives found within the Giant Robot experience through a series of components that visually represents the magazine’s ethos. Providing an overview of the Giant Robot aesthetic, publisher Eric Nakamura will curate artwork by individuals who have contributed to Giant Robot's gallery shows, magazine articles, or cover art over the past 15 years. This exhibition will include installations by David Choe, James Jean, and Souther Salazar, in addition to works by Theo Ellsworth, kozyndan, Stella Lai, Jack Long, Albert Reyes, Jeff Soto, and Deth P. Sun.
A second component will feature a group show of more than 50 other artists in typical GR fashion. Giant Robot has helped to transform the landscape and the boundaries of contemporary art, often working with brand-new artists (some still in art school). Many have gone on to great success presenting their art around the world, while others pay the rent with art-related projects such as commercial work and consumer products. In either case, Giant Robot has served as a launching pad for new ideas, new artists, and new art forms. A complete list of artists will be available at www.janm.org/exhibits/gr15.
The third component in the exhibition will be a retrospective for longtime magazine contributor Ben Clark. Clark’s powerful photographs from past issues will be displayed in a larger, more vibrant print format and accompanied by recollections, explanations, and other ramblings by editor Martin Wong.
In the fourth component, Giant Robot continues to pay tribute to one of the roots of Asian popular culture—the kaiju scene introduced by Godzilla, Gamera, other giant monsters, and the toy industry. This component will feature the collaborative works made by Japanese indie sculptor and artist Yukinori Dehara, UglyDolls co-creator David Horvath, and Portland, Oregon-based underground toy legend LeMerde.
The fifth and final component will feature four custom videogames that have been developed by the Attract Mode Collective in conjunction with some of Giant Robot’s favorite artists. These games were made exclusively for the Game Over/Continue? show at GRSF (March-April, 2009) and will be available for play throughout the exhibition’s run. The artist and developer parings include Hellen Jo and Derek Yu, Saelee Oh and Anna Anthropy, Souther Salazar and Petri Purho, and Deth P. Sun and Jonathan "Cactus" Soderstrom.