COOPER (Brian Cooper (born 1976), the artist changed his name to a mononymous title in all capital letters in 1993) is an American artist known for sculptures and assemblages that exist as meditations on death, man's emotional capacities and struggles for power. COOPER was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He lives and works in Alaska.
COOPER's sculptures are often made from various found objects, wood, electrical devices, fabric, paper, and industrial hardware items.
The subjects of COOPER's projects are often related to investigating the world at dusk, attempting to describe visually the moment when it is precisely not day, or night. The work always involves some element of darkness, and intentional obscurity- such as a wall mounted fountain that recycles a miniature black river, or models of caves where light disappears before the viewer into a simulated tunnel. These themes continue into works that involve timed mechanical devices, operating like old time Houses of Horror, illusion, trickery or a spook-ride from a traveling carnival, and other works such as translucent layered drawings depicting human turmoil surrounded by floating objects and depiction.
Other characteristics in his work are unpainted wood with the liberal use of chemical binders and tinted epoxy resins, heavy paint drips, a mixture of highly crafted items merged with shoddy construction debris, sewn materials, and the deliberate elevation of common hardware to a visual language. The style of COOPER's artwork falls into a steampunk aesthetic crossed with American historical references. His work "Our American Cousin" (2001) for example, is a large installation piece consisting of a cave, video projection device, and custom costume elements. Art writer Jocelyn Adele Gonzalez comments, "The work is simultaneously humorous and distressing, and at some point lies on the edge of being socio-political. There is indubitably an integration and simultaneity of subjects that intertwine to present the viewer the episteme of the post modern condition where appropriations, simulacrum and parodies go beyond mere pastiche."
In January 2007, COOPER gave an interview to ArtCircuits Magazine on the subject of the 2008 exhibition "Seven Years Bad Luck" he is quoted saying "[I am inspired by] what you don't know, what happened in the house before you lived there, what's under the grave." These macabre intentions have a sinister humor applied with long poetic titles attached to them, for example, the 2002 drawing called "Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Die, Then Call Me Tomorrow" or the 2008 sculpture enigmatically labeled, "Black Lungs: Ever notice how all artists are super-sensitive, temperamental, selfish crybabies, and it only gets worse as they get older and continually more bitter. The long dark tea time of the soul right before death and then your taxes—now, imagine a world with two Elvis’s, twin brother performers. Best to die young and famous. In her hand, a faded Polaroid of her white Corvette plunged head first into the telephone pole, totaled beyond repair."
COOPER's work has been published in Miami Contemporary Artists by Paul Clemence, Julie Davidow, Elisa Turner, (Schiffer Publishing 2007 ISBN 0-7643-2647-3) and Bonnie Clearwater's book Making Art in Miami, Travels in Hyper-reality (2001 Museum of Contemporary Art ISBN 1-888708-11-5) as well as periodicals including Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Art Papers, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Santa Fe Reporter and The Miami Herald.
In March 2005, the Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami exhibited COOPER's solo show titled "Whiskey for a Red Dawn" at which the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, acquired a large scale drawing titled "The finest palaces always make the most impressive ruins. So spend your money as fast as possible, and always use some sort of gold appliqué."
In May 2007, Dwight Hackett Projects exhibited a solo show of COOPER's sculpture called "I see a Red Door and want to Paint it Black". This exhibition included the piece titled "Dead Ringer, Low E is the Sound of Black" consisting of a baby grand piano buried underneath the gallery in a makeshift concrete tomb, a live video image of the piano was viewable on a flat screen television above the buried chamber, and a single piano key could be reached by the audience via a ground penetrating sword-like protrusion.
- 2010 "COOPER - New Work (Sunspots)" Dwight Hackett Projects, Santa Fe, NM
- 2009 "MOCANOMI: Pivot Points" Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL
- 2009 "Selected Works: Beltran, COOPER, Esson, Pylypchuk, Lei Rodriguez" Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
- 2009 "Miami Noir" Invisible Exports, New York, NY
- 2008 "COOPER - Seven Years Bad Luck" Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
- 2007 "COOPER - I see a red door and I want to paint it black" Dwight Hackett Projects, Santa Fe
- 2007 "Confluence" Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
- 2006 "COOPER - Whiskey for a Red Dawn" Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
- 2006 "For A(n) Relation(s)" ADA Gallery, Richmond, VA
- 2006 "MOCA Permanent Collection" Museum of Contemporary Art, Goldman Sachs Warehouse, Miami
- 2005 "MOCA and Miami" Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami
- 2005 "Dia De Los Muertos" Bath House, Dallas, TX
- 2005 "If You Are Feeling Sinister" Alona Kagan Gallery, New York
- 2005 "COOPER- Black Lungs, To Blow Smoke in Your Face" Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
- 2005 "Co Operate" Bas Fisher Invitational, Miami
- 2005 "O, The Games We Play" Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
- 2005 "It'll Cost You" Kathleen Cullen Fine Art, New York
- 2005 "At this time: 10 Miami Artists" Rubell Family Collection, Miami
- 2007 Miami Contemporary Artists by Paul Clemence, Julie Davidow, Elisa Turner, Schiffer Publishing ISBN 0-7643-2647-3
- 2005 MOCA and Miami by Bonnie Clearwater, Museum of Contemporary Art ISBN 1-888708-22-0
- 2001 Making Art in Miami, Travels in Hyperreality by Bonnie Clearwater, Museum of Contemporary Art ISBN 1-888708-11-5
- 2000 Sarasota Biennial-2000 by Ringling Museum of Art ISBN 0-916758-38-9
- 2007 Zane Fisher, "Loud and Dirty", The Santa Fe Reporter, May 16
- 2007 Michael Abatemarco, "Cooper: I see a red door and want to paint it black", THE Magazine, July
- 2006 Enrique Fernandez, "Miami makes the scene", Miami Herald
- 2005 Elisa Turner, "Rubell Collection Exhibits Miami Artists", Miami Herald
- 2005 Alfredo Triff, "Current Shows - Black Lungs", The New Times
- 2004 Anat Ebgi, "Artist Conversations", NY Arts magazine
- 2004 "Clearing house", Street Magazine June 11
- 2003 "Miami: A Dramatic Reinvention", ArtNews February
- 2003 "Cooper: El Artista como AntiHéro", El Nuevo Herald March 9
- 2003 "Raw Cooper", Street Magazine April 4
- 2003 "Cooper: Sculpture Exhibit at Dorsch", The Miami Herald August 17
- 2002 "Ear Candy in Humid", Street Magazine January 11
- 2001 Amei Wallach, "In Miami, A Hot Spot of Art, the Temperature is Rising", The New York Times September 16
- 2001 "Things to See, ART", The Village Voice September 6
- 2001 Elisa Turner, "Ticket to Ride", The Miami Herald December 20
- 2001 Damarys Ocana, "An Artistic Ode to Miami", Street Magazine December 22-28
- 2001 Alfredo Triff, "The Hyperreality of It All", The New Times January 4-10
- 2001 Carlos Reyes, "Robots Take Over Frederic Snitzer Gallery", MiamiArtExchange.com April
- 2001 Armando Alvarez Bravo, "Hacer Arte en Miami", El Neuvo Herald January 14
- 2001 Miguel Sirgado, "Cooper, Aproppiaciones y Licencias", El Nuevo Herald April 15
- 2000 Paula Harper, "Banking on Art", Art In America May
- "COOPER at Fredric Snitzer Gallery" by Jocelyn Adele Gonzalez, Independent Review May 2001
- The full title for "Our American Cousin" is "Drainpipes and death myths, headrest bombs and dusty thing in closets, rotten pastries and years of privation; but let's consider a moment in the past when we could have done thing differently, or perhaps been someone else - locum tenens for the sake of change - through fences across fields and out of windows with our American cousin" 2001. This installation is in the permanent collection of the Miami Art Museum.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami's quarterly report dated January 2008
- "Loud and Dirty" by Zane Fisher, The Santa Fe Reporter, May 2007