Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings

February 8, 2008 - April 21, 2008
Kemper Art Museum


Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings presents a selection of large-scale paintings by this LA-based artist as part of the Kemper Art Museum's Contemporary Projects series. Strode's first major museum show, the exhibition will include two dozen mixed-media paintings--wild mash-ups of California surf and skateboard culture, Zen philosophy, rock music, literature, film, and comic books.

Strode's large-scale canvases and vibrant colors combine elements of music, text, and contemorary culture to complicate and expand the viewer's aesthetic experience, employing both humor and horror to create remarkable fantasy worlds. Born in Santa Monica in 1964, Strode draws freely on the youth culture in which he came of age--comic books, adventure stories, horror films--as well as the culture and clichés of the southern California lifestyle.

Strode's unique oeuvre merges historically oppositional styles and modes--figuration versus abstraction; expressive versus rational--in new and provocate ways. His work also features a diverse cast of characters--gorillas, castaways, ghosts, and monsters--which combine elements of the grotesque and a variety of transitional states of being.

Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings is curated by Sabine Eckmann, director and chief curator, and Meredith Malone, assistant curator. 

Read the Press Release >>

About Thaddeus Strode

Born in 1964 in Santa Monica, CA, Thaddeus Strode studied at the Otis/Parsons Art Institute and the California Institute of the Arts, earning a BFA degree from the latter in 1986. His work has been exhibited across the United States and internationally, including more than twenty solo gallery shows at the Kunstverein in Heilbronn, Germany; neugerriemschneider in Berlin; Galerie Michael Janssen in Cologne; Galleria Gio Marconi in Milan; the Cirrus Gallery and the Happy Lion, both in Los Angeles; among others. Recent group exhibitions include Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Imagination becomes Reality at the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany; KLF: Strictly Painting at the KLF Project Space in New York; and Funny Cuts: Cartoons and Comics in Contemporary Art at the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart. His work is in public and private collections worldwide. He lives and works in Los Angeles.Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is his first solo museum exhibition.

Educator resources

The Museum's Education department connects special exhibitions with students of all levels through specialized tours, curriculum plans, hands-on activities, and more. Download the Education Guide for the exhibition for more details.

Exhibition support

Support for Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings was provided by James M. Kemper, Jr.; the David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation; the Hortense Lewin Art Fund; and individual contributors to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.