“If I Die Young” is an installation by Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski that addresses contemporary understandings of childhood. Similar to the artists’ previous collaborative project, “Sister Unn’s” (2011-2012), in which they set up an out-of-business flower shop on a commercial avenue in Forest Hills, Queens, the work also explores loss.
The front gallery will consist of twelve black computer speakers spread along the walls, each playing the audio from a YouTube video in which a young girl (age four to sixteen) sings a cover version of the pop-country song “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. Typically, the YouTube covers include a brief introduction by the girl, who announces her name and age and then proceeds to sing the song, which was written by lead vocalist Kimberly Perry from the point of view of a young girl who has died. Harmonized together in the gallery, the collection of voices takes on a different resonance.
In the rear gallery, the artists will display ten custom-made, twin-size blankets—each based on a watermarked photo taken from an Internet-based child modeling agency. The photos are replaced with the image’s average overall color, but retain the agency’s watermark logo, which is embroidered into the wool fabric.
Participating artists include: Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski
Gene McHugh is a writer and curator based in Brooklyn. His writing has appeared in Artforum, Rhizome, Aperture, Junk Jet, Red Hook Journal, and multiple exhibition catalogs. He was the recipient of the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for his blog Post Internet, which was published in book form by Link Editions. A graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, McHugh has curated exhibitions for Vogt Gallery and Silvershed. He is currently the Interpretation Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Under My Colors: “Three things make this show really great for me. First, I think this is the work made by two people who understand poetry in a beautifully unsexy way. The conversation is clear, but complex. Paired with an curatorial and aesthetic confidence, they are able to crux their work around emotion without being sentimental or hyperbolic. That is hard to do.” – WOW HUH
Children as Internet Things for Adults: “If I Die Young” at 319 Scholes: “Fetishism of child performance is an aspect of internet culture that’s uncomfortable to address critically. This collaborative show does, ambitiously so, by immersing, commodifying and, ultimately, confronting. A fully collaborative, stand-out, relevant show.” – ANIMAL
Fleeting Youth, Captured in YouTube Videos and Modeling Photos: “‘If I Die Young’ is an installation by artists Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski that appropriates videos and photographs from the internet to investigate the fleetingness of youth as caught through online artifacts.” – Hyperallergic
Top 5 Bushwick Art Shows This Week to Make Your Easter Bunny-Worthy: “After their collaboration on the Sister Unn’s project (2011-2012), artists Bunny Rogers and Filip Olszewski joined forces with art critic and curator Gene McHugh.” – Bushwick Daily