There’s long been a creative and free-flowing osmosis between Underworld, the pop-minded techno act, and Tomato, the London-based design collective, which share personnel as well as aesthetic fixations. At the Jacobson Howard Gallery in Manhattan there is currently, through August 15, an exhibit of work by and related to both outfits. I attended the opening, last Thursday, August 7, where I shot the images below. The exhibit is titled Beautiful Burnout Artjam: The Art of Underworld, and it coincided with Underworld’s appearance at All Points West Music & Arts Festival at Liberty State Park (which I didn’t get to).
The majority of the work in Beautiful Burnout is photography — blissfully mundane imagery that, much like Underworld’s music, locates pleasure in industrial materials, repetition, rhythmic rigor, and occasional bursts of vibrancy. I was informed that, of the images below (just a portion of the overall exhibit), the black and white shots were more likely to have been accomplished by Underworld’s Karl Hyde, and the color (along with the more in-focus black and white) by the band’s Rick Smith. Various permanent wall-art images, not pictured here, were attributed to John Warwicker, co-founder of Tomato and creative director of Underworld.
Also running on various walls were video shorts by Graham Wood, including this sequence:
PS: The framed text above (“In Tenebrismoke Curling…”) is by Artjam participant Richard Schwamb. Other artists involved in the installation included Laura Schwamb, Naomi Trotsky, and Toru Yoshikawa.