One of a series of authorative, yet ultimately meaningless statements, 'Peas Are the New Beans' is painted in bold text in Bob and Roberta Smith's distinctive graphic style. Painted statements like this challenge the widely perceived status of the artist as social commentator and as an individual with something important to say.
Bob & Roberta Smith is the assumed name of the artist Patrick Brill. While working in New York in the early 1990s, he became disillusioned by the commercialism of the art world, particularly its dependency on, and promotion of, celebrity as a determining factor in the success or failure of an artist's career. Brill's interest developed towards the more democratic notion that anybody can make their own art, and that an artist can become an instrument for the expression of ideas, rather than an art celebrity. This approach relates to his use of a pseudonym: by identifying himself as a fictional duo, his intention is to move the focus away from the myth making that can surround an individual artist.
Patrick Brill was born in London in 1963. He has exhibited and participated in numerous group exhibitions in London, Basel and New York. His first solo exhibition was held at the Hales Gallery, London in 2005. He established the Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art in east London as a place to exhibit the work of other artists who share his collaborative approach to making art.
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