Wes Lang: The Studio

ADC Member Charlotte Andersen shares something awesome in the state of Denmark


One Cool Thing is a feature where ADC Members can share that special discovery they’ve recently made. A new gallery, a nice restaurant in a surprising part of town, a kick-ass pair of sneakers, a sweet notebook, whatever they came across that moved their happiness meter up a notch or two. We hope that by having our members share their finds, they’ll help to inspire others to explore.

For our latest ‘cool thing’ we turn to ADC Member Charlotte Holst Andersen, a design blogger based in Aarhus, Denmark. Charlotte tells us about an art exhibition by American artist Wes Lang, held at the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum from now until September 7.

Can you imagine having your creative den exhibited for others to explore, comment, photograph and discuss? Wes Lang could after being presented to the creative vision enough times to finally accept the idea. I am so happy he did. This is an introduction to his ’American culture mash-up’ style.

As the exhibition door slowly opens you are welcomed by a gigantic wall photo of Wes Lang working in his studio. He looks focused while stretching into a brushstroke. His arm is covered by a number of skull tattoos, almost creating a frame as they line up with a skullheaded Indian chief painting on the wall and a death mannequin in the back of the room.

The exhibition door closes, shuts out daylight and leaves an intense atmosphere of black darkness to introduce Wes Lang at his first solo show in a museum.

The first piece shows an important and personal project created in memory of a dear and deceased friend. A skeleton is kneeling in prayer pleading to be spared of the inevitable ending we are all to face at some point. Death seems to have a constant focus. Life too – through American culture, lifestyle, music and history.

“There are stars in the Southern sky
And if ever you decide
You should go
There is a taste of time sweetened honey down the Seven Bridges Road.”

– Seven Bridges Road
Steve Young

Music and lyrics enter your senses as the intensity of the room builds up. You slow down in suspense while trying to locate the direction of the music. This exhibition will not reveal everything at once. You have to wait for it.

A truly great way to exhibit some of the very detailed works of Wes Lang. His pieces often combine beautiful pin-up girls, Playboy bunny logos, skulls, Indians, detailed bird drawings and several statements such as: ’Lights will guide you home’, ’Become tranquility’ or ’Don’t ease me in’.

In some pieces you might find Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse as well as a number of tipis, crosses and doodles. These works will have new things for you to explore even if you see them a dozen times or more. The color combinations, methods and palettes is worth a study in it self.

The exhibition takes you through interesting and various paintings, a gold sculpture displayed in a legendary David Lynch reference, a custom made Harley by Michael Barragan with Wes Lang decor and of course The Studio in the center of it all. The place of ideas, inspiration, work and focus. The place of creative magic.

The Studio is not a traditional exhibition. Nor is it a replica. It is a chance to explore a creative and very personal environment. A chance to get a glimpse of the proces Wes Lang enters during his work. This is his actual studio from Los Angeles with real things: books, brushes, paint, furniture, personal items of inspiration, clothes and record albums.

All the interiors of his studio in Los Angeles were shipped to Denmark as part of the exhibition. To create an authentic and real atmosphere, Wes Lang worked inside The Studio for weeks while building the exhibition. You actually walk right into his creative surroundings and creative energy. To me that is pure magic and I somehow feel that I have an exclusive meeting with Wes Lang and his art when I go there. Tomorrow I will go there again.

Rumours say that Wes Lang has set up a working area in a corner of his empty studio in Los Angeles. His studio will soon return after an overseas stay. Maybe it holds new inspiration?

Are you an ADC Member with One Cool Thing to share? Drop a line to Brett McKenzie, ADC Content Manager at bmckenzie@adcglobal.org