The Propeller Group

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The Propeller Group
Founded 2006 (2006)
Founders Phunam Thuc Ha
Matt Lucero
Tuan Andrew Nguyen
Headquarters Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Los Angeles, California, United States
Website www.the-propeller-group.com
teepeegee.com

The Propeller Group is a cross-disciplinary structure for creating art projects. The collective is headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and works in conjunction with creative individuals in Los Angeles, California, United States.[1][2][3]

About[edit]

The Propeller Group was founded in late 2006 by visual artists Phunam Thuc Ha (born 1974, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) and Tuan Andrew Nguyen (born 1976, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), who were joined by Matt Lucero (born 1976, Upland, California) in 2008. Phunam studied sculpture and conservation in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand and at the Hanoi College of Fine Arts. Nguyen earned a BFA from the University of California, Irvine. He met Lucero while they were completing their MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Lucero earned a BFA from the University of California, Riverside.[1] As of late 2017, Phunam Thuc Ha and Matt Lucero are no longer active members of The Propeller Group having withdrawn to pursue more personal interests.[4]

The collective is dedicated to developing original creative content, bridging between fine art and mainstream media.[5] The group draws inspiration from television, film, video, and the Internet.[6][7] They make large-scale collaborative projects in new media, from online viral campaigns, international film productions, television commercials, to art installations, and everything in between, taking a special interest in multimedia and mass communication.[2] The collective employs strategies from advertising, marketing, and the rarefied forms of commodity exchange and display that take place in galleries and museums. Their medium and Vietnam are frequently their subjects.[1] They use mass media as a platform to combine seemingly contradictory phenomena: advertising and politics, history and future, and public and private.[3] They often push their work back into the public sphere, using commodities as a form of public art. The collective cites graffiti as a source of influence, as seen in their documentary Spray It Don't Say It (2006), which follows the evolution of graffiti in Vietnam.[3][8] The influence of graffiti is also present in Television Commercial for Communism (2011), drawing inspiration from the COST REVS tag, which mixes identity with advertising and branding and takes advantage of the public space.[3][9]

TPG Films[edit]

TPG Films, The Propeller Group's second identity, functions as a full-service video production company.

The Propeller Group also functions as the full-service video production company TPG Films.[2] In addition to making music videos for Vietnamese pop singers Thanh Bui, Hoàng Thùy Linh, Minh Hằng, Hồ Ngọc Hà, Phương Vy, Anh Khang, Liêu Anh Tuấn, and the occasional commercials, TPG Films has collaborated with Vietnamese American artist Dinh Q. Lê on multimedia installation projects. They also regularly team up with Danish art collective Superflex, co-producing short films and video installations.[1][5] The distinction between The Propeller Group and TPG Films reflects the shifting relations between art and commerce.[1]

Phunam and Nguyen also co-founded the artist-run, non-profit, alternative space Sàn Art (Ho Chi Minh City) along with Dinh Q. Lê and Tiffany Chung in 2007.[1][2]

Works[edit]

Their works have been described as a blend of aesthetics and culture, between fine arts and mainstream media, between art gallery and the media world, between high culture and low culture, with an interdisciplinary and border-crossing appeal, a fusion of two seemingly different concepts and ideologies, such as the blend of the tool of capitalism (advertising) and ideology of communism in their project Television Commercial for Communism.[3][5][8][9] According to the Guggenheim Museum, "To appreciate the Propeller Group’s work is to enter an extended network of aesthetic and cultural production." The Propeller Group has been the subject of solo exhibitions at galleries and museums worldwide.[1] Their work has been included in No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and The Ungovernables, New Museum Triennial. The collective, under the identity TPG, has also exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, Hammer Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Lombard Freid Gallery, Guangzhou Triennial, and Singapore Art Museum.[1][10]

Films[edit]

  • Spray It Don't Say It (2006) – documentary film[3][8]
  • She Sells Seashells (2007) – short film, in collaboration with The Seashores
  • Burning Car (2008) – short film, in collaboration with Superflex
  • Flooded McDonald’s (2008) – short film, in collaboration with Superflex
  • The Financial Crisis (2009) – video clips for television broadcast, in collaboration with Superflex
  • Porcelain / Mảnh Ghép Cuộc Đời (2009) – three-part television mini-series, in collaboration with Superflex[5]
  • FADE IN: EXT. STORAGE – CU CHI – DAY (2010) – short film, in collaboration with Superflex
  • The Guerillas of Cu Chi (2012) – short film
  • Light and Belief (2012) – short documentary film, with Dinh Q. Lê
  • The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music (2014) – short film[11][12]

Video art[edit]

  • The Farmers and the Helicopters (2006) (in collaboration with Dinh Q. Lê)
  • Uh (2007)
  • From Father to Son (2007) (in collaboration with Dinh Q. Lê)
  • South China Sea Pishkun (2009) (in collaboration with Dinh Q. Lê)
  • Modern Times Forever (2011) (in collaboration with Superflex)
  • Erasure (2011) (in collaboration with Dinh Q. Lê)
  • Television Commercial for Communism (2011)[3][7][8][13][14][15][16][17]

Interdisciplinary projects[edit]

  • Temporary Public Gallery (2010): Renting out advertising space to curate artworks in public, the group attempts to challenge notions of public space, advertising, and public art in Vietnam as there are limitations of the public art due to control through different censorship bodies.
  • Estranged Fruit (2011): A study in the application of political history and socio-political meaning through the introduction of one of America’s most famous protest song, Strange Fruit, into China’s growing rock scene, via Chinese punk rock & industrial metal band, VooDooKungFu. Estranged Fruit was displayed in its first iteration in Hong Kong at 1A Space as an installation.
  • Vietnam the World Tour (2010–2012): A rogue anti-nation-rebranding campaign. It appropriates marketing language, graffiti strategies, and viral video platforms to re-associate a historically colonized and mediated national identity with an entirely new mediated history.[3][8]
  • Static Friction: Burning Rubber (2012): An attempt to discuss the larger issues of globalism, economy, industry, individuality, rebellion, violence and aesthetics with one simple act: the burnout. Single channel video, modified Honda Wave, photographs.[18]
  • Static Friction (2012): A five-part work, including 1967, Collision, The Dream, Portraits of Mechanical Reproduction, and Chasing Inertia.[18]
  • The History of the Future (2012): A two-part mold is shown in the gallery space along with an accompanying short film showing a series of packshots, inter-cut with a short documentary narrative of the artists’ journey to an unknown location to bury the sculpture. The GPS coordinates are kept in a steel safe rigged with a time-release mechanism, attached to a digital counter, counting down from 100 years, only to be unlocked when the counter reaches zero.

Selected exhibitions and screenings[edit]

No. Title Year Location
1 6th NHK Asian Film Festival 2007 Tokyo, Japan
2 The History of a Decade That Has Not Yet Been Named

Lyon Biennial

2008 Lyon, France
3 Strategies from Within: Vietnamese and Cambodian Contemporary Art 2008 Ke Center, Shanghai, China
4 Farewell to Post-Colonialism

3rd Guangzhou Triennial

2008 Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
5 Quiet Shiny Words[1] 2008 Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
6 4th Biennial Cinema Symposium 2008 Los Angeles, CA, USA
7 Gwangju Biennale 2008 Gwangju, Korea
8 The Farmers and the Helicopters 2008 Freer & Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
9 Oberhausen Film Festival 2009 Germany
10 Palais Project 2009 Vienna, Austria
11 Intersection Vietnam 2009 Valentine Willie Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
12 Against Easy Listening[1] 2010 1A Space, Hong Kong
13 Your Name Here[1]
(in collaboration with Tyke Witnes)
2010 Sàn Art at L’usine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
14 The Farmers and the Helicopters[19] 2010 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
15 FAX 2010 Para Site, Hong Kong
16 Video, an Art, a History 2011 Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
17 Project 35

Independent Curators International[20]

2011 Pratt Manhattan Gallery, NY, USA
18 Commercial Break

54th Venice Biennale

(presented by Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Garage Projects)

2011 Venice, Italy
19 Negotiating Home, History and Nation 2011 Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
20 Singapore Biennale 2011 Open House[6] 2011 Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
21 The Ungovernables: 2012 New Museum Triennial[1][16][21][22] 2012 New Museum, NY, USA
22 Made in L.A. 2012

Los Angeles Biennial[7][17][23][24]

2012 Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
23 The Unseen

4th Guangzhou Triennial

2012 Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
24 Six Lines of Flight[25][26][27] 2012 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, USA
25 No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia

Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative[9][13]

2013 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA
26 Lived, Lives, Will Live![28][29] 2013 Lombard Freid Gallery, New York, NY, USA
27 Lenin Piece

Art Basel – Hong Kong[30]

2014 Hong Kong
28 All the World’s Futures

56th Venice Biennale[31]

2015 Venice, Italy
29 'The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music[32][33] 2016 James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY, USA
30 Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes[34] 2018 New York, NY, USA

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Propeller Group." Archived 2015-02-21 at the Wayback Machine. Guggenheim: Collection Online. Guggenheim Museum, n.d. Web. 25 March. 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Propeller Group." SFMOMA on the Go. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Swan, Ethan. "The Propeller Group, Founded 2006, Ho Chi Minh City." In The Ungovernables, 2012 New Museum Triennial, eds. Eungie Joo et al. New York: Rizzoli, 2012. Print.
  4. ^ Rose, Frank. "Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes" The New York Times. Web. 23 Feb. 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Butt, Zoe. The Pilgrimage of Inspiration – Artists as Engineers in Vietnam: The Propeller Group interview with Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Phu Nam Thuc Ha, and Matt Lucero.” Independent Curators International: Dispatch, 13 May 2010. Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network, 9 Oct 2010.
  6. ^ a b Singapore Biennale 2011 Open House. Singapore: Singapore Art Museum, 2011. Print.
  7. ^ a b c Garcia, Cesar. "The Propeller Group." In Made in L.A. 2012, eds. Anne Ellegood et al. Munich: Prestel, May 2012. Print.
  8. ^ a b c d e Mehta, Diane. "The Propeller Group." BOMB Magazine. BOMB, 21 February 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Brooks, Katherine. "The Propeller Group Is On Our Radar: Multimedia Art Trio Talks Communism, 'Argo' And Graffiti (PHOTOS)." The Huffington Post, 18 Apr. 2013. Web 10 Jul. 2013.
  10. ^ "The Propeller Group". 2014.
  11. ^ "THE PROPELLER GROUP – Jun 4–Nov 13, 2016." MCA: Exhibitions. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Web. 1 May 2017.
  12. ^ "The Propeller Group’s Gorgeous New Show Captures Beauty in Death and Ballistics." Artsy.net: Magazine. Artsy.net. Web. 1 May 2017.
  13. ^ a b "The Propeller Group." Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative: Artists. Guggenheim Museum, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  14. ^ Yap, June. "The Propeller Group: 'Television Commercial for Communism.'" Guggenheim: Collection Online – Artwork. Guggenheim Museum, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  15. ^ "The Propeller Group on the Production of TVCC." Guggenheim: Video. Guggenheim Museum, 22 Jul. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  16. ^ a b Pearlman, Ellen. "The Ungovernables Flips the Bird." Hyperallergic: Sensitive to Art & Its Discontents. Hyperallergic, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  17. ^ a b Chapman, Amy Howden. "Amy's Column 06 - 'Made in LA' Review." Chartwell. The Chartwell Collection, 18 Jul. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  18. ^ a b Carruthers, Ashley. "Moto-mobile, Saigon/Motomobility." Galerie Quynh, April 2012.
  19. ^ "Projects 93: Dinh Q. Lê." MoMA: Exhibitions. Museum of Modern Art. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  20. ^ Himmelrich, Jessie. "6. Tuan Andrew Nguyen (Vietnam, born 1976), Phù Nam Thúc Hà (Vietnam, born 1974): 'Uh…', 2007." In Selections from Project 35: International Video, October 20 through January 30, 2011. Louisiana: New Orleans Museum of Art, 2011.
  21. ^ "'The Ungovernables,' 2012 New Museum Triennial (02/15/12 - 04/22/12)." New Museum Exhibitions. New Museum, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  22. ^ Rosenberg, Max. "‘The Ungovernables’ is more serious and political than its predecessor, but still has a hard time defining a generation." Capital New York, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  23. ^ Knight, Christopher. "Art Review: The Hammer Biennial 'Made in L.A. 2012' Succeeds." Los Angeles Times: Entertainment. Los Angeles Times, 8 Jun. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  24. ^ "The Propeller Group." Made in L.A. 2012. Hammer Museum, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  25. ^ Littlejohn, David. "Cities on the Edge." The Washington Street Journal: Life and Culture: Arts and Entertainment. The Washington Street Journal, 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  26. ^ "Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art, 15 September – December 31, 2012." SFMOMA on the Go. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  27. ^ Weng, Xiaoyu. "The Propeller Group." In Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art, ed. Apsara DiQuinzio. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. Print.
  28. ^ Pearlman, Ellen. "The Propeller Group Lands in New York." Hyperallergic: Sensitive to Arts & its Discontents. Hyperallergic, 17 Sep. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
  29. ^ Brooks, Katherine. "The Propeller Group Reimagines The Image Of Lenin In ‘Lived, Lives, Will Live!’" Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 19 Sep. 2013. Web. 1 May 2017.
  30. ^ Peel, Yana. "My Highlights from Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014." Artsy – Discover, Research, and Collect the World's Best Art Online. Artsy, 5 May 2014. Web. 1 May 2017.
  31. ^ Baumgardner, Julie. "5 Names You’ll Know after the Venice Biennale." Artsy – Discover, Research, and Collect the World's Best Art Online. Artsy, 7 May 2015. Web. 1 May 2017.
  32. ^ "THE PROPELLER GROUP – Jun 4–Nov 13, 2016." MCA: Exhibitions. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Web. 1 May 2017.
  33. ^ "The Propeller Group’s Gorgeous New Show Captures Beauty in Death and Ballistics." Artsy.net: Magazine. Artsy.net. Web. 1 May 2017.
  34. ^ Rose, Frank. "Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes" The New York Times. Web. 23 Feb. 2018.

External links[edit]