Actual Size Los Angeles is pleased to announce You Oughta Be In Pictures, new work by Justin John Greene. Greene’s solo exhibition at Actual Size continues his tactile exploration of constructed American nostalgia. This exhibition also marks a departure for Greene from his mainly painting based practice into an installation that utilizes sculpture and video in order to place the viewer into a theatrical narrative.
“You Oughta Be In Pictures” is a popular 1934 song that has come to exist as a syrupy serenade to old Hollywood. The song addresses a lover, stating that she is so beautiful that she should act in movies. Here, real life relationships are portrayed as imperfect in comparison to the fame and wealth awarded to an actor. A Looney Tunes animation produced by Warner Bros. in 1940 shares the same title. This short film, which combines live action and animation, shows the character Porky Pig attempting to become a feature film actor after being persuaded by co-star Daffy Duck to drop his cartoon contract. This exhibition makes reference to the zany interpretation of "Hollywood" as portrayed in cartoons from the golden age of American animation like, “You Ought To Be In Pictures,” and later films such as, "Blazing Saddles" (1974) and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988).
The gallery's windows display a back-lit poster bearing the title of the exhibition. Blue velvet curtains hang behind the poster, illuminated to reference theatrical drapery. At the entrance of the gallery three large objects dominate the space. These are a painted backdrop of an evening landscape in the Mojave desert, a sculpture of a vintage movie camera, and a over-sized sculpture of a Hollywood director from a bygone era. The “director” kneels beside the camera, pleading with the viewer. At the opposite end of the space, two monitors are closely placed with their screens facing. One monitor plays a looping video that shows the artist in a cartoon version of a Hollywood sound stage, repeating the role of frustrated movie director. The adjacent monitor plays a live feed from a video camera hidden inside the sculpture of the old-fashioned movie camera. Though this exhibition relies heavily on revealing the artist’s hand in self-parody and self-portraiture, the installation employs live video feed and its theatrical setting as a direct device to place the viewer in the artwork.