Cooper (artist)

Cooper (artist)

COOPER (Bryan Cooper, born 1976, the artist legally changed his name to one word in all capital letters in 1993) is an American artist best known for his strange sculptures and assemblages that exist as meditations on death, man’s emotional capacities and struggles for power. COOPER lives and works in Miami, FL and Ribera, New Mexico and is represented by Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami and Dwight Hackett Projects, Santa Fe.

COOPER’s sculptures are often made from common found objects, wood, electric devices, fabrics, paper, and various hardware items.

The subjects of COOPER’s artworks are usually related to investigating the world at dusk, describing the moment when it is precisely not day, or night. Thus 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 real tunnel. These themes continue into works that involve timed mechanical devices, operating like old time Houses of Horror or a dark ride at the traveling carnival, and other works such as translucent layered drawings depicting human turmoil surrounded by imaginary objects and inventions.

Other characteristics in his work are unpainted wood with the liberal use of 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 The style of COOPER’s artwork falls into a steampunk aesthetic crossed with American historical references.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 tube, 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." [1] [2]

In January 2007, COOPER gave an interview to ArtCircuits Magazine on the subject of the 2008 project show Seven Years Bad Luck where 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. [3] ” These macabre intentions have a sinister humor applied as well with long poetic titles attached to them like the 2002 drawing called “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 totaled beyond repair. “

COOPER’s work has been published in Miami Contemporary Artists by Paul Clemence, Julie Davidow, Elisa Turner, (Schiffer Publishing 2007 ISBN:0764326473) and Bonnie Clearwater’s book Making Art in Miami, Travels in Hyper-reality (2001 Museum of Contemporary Art ISBN:1888708115) 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, Miami, FL, 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” through a private gift from anonymous local collectors. [3]

In May 2007, Dwight Hackett Projects exhibited a solo show of COOPER’s recent work called “I see a Red Door and want to Paint it Black,” this exhibition included the publicized piece titled “Dead Ringer, Low E is the Sound of Black” consisting of a baby grand piano was buried underneath the gallery in a make-shift concrete tomb, a live video image of the piano can be scene on a flat screen television above the buried chamber, and a single piano key can be reached by the audience via a ground level sword like sculptural protrusion. [4]

COOPER is one of the three founders of Locust Projects, an alternative non-profit exhibition space in Wynwood, FL, started in 1997.



* 1997 BFA Pratt_Institute INSTITUTE NEW YORK, NY

Selected exhibitions

2008 ‘COOPER - Seven Years Bad Luck’ Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL.
2007 ‘COOPER - I see a red door and I want to paint it black ’ Dwight Hackett Projects, Santa Fe, NM.
2007 ‘Confluence’ Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL.
2006 ‘COOPER - Whiskey for a Red Dawn ’Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL.
2006 ‘For A(n) Relation(s)’ ADA Gallery,Richmond, VA.
2006 ‘MOCA Permanent Collection’ Museum of Contemporary Art, Goldman Sachs Warehouse, Miami, FL.
2005 ‘MOCA and Miami’ Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL.
2005 ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ Bath House, Dallas, TX.
2005 ‘If You Are Feeling Sinister” Alona Kagan Gallery, New York, NY.
2005 ‘COOPER- Black Lungs, To Blow Smoke in Your Face’ Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL.
2005 ‘Co Operate’ Bas Fisher Invitational, Miami, FL.
2005 ‘O, The Games We Play’ Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL.
2005 ‘It'll Cost You’ Kathleen Cullen Fine Art, New York, NY.
2005 ‘At this time: 10 Miami Artists’ Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL.

Further reading

Books:2007 ‘Miami Contemporary Artists’ by Paul Clemence, Julie Davidow, Elisa Turner, Schiffer Publishing ISBN: 0764326473
2005 ‘MOCA and Miami’ by Bonnie Clearwater, Museum of Contemporary Art ISBN: 1888708986
2001 ‘Making Art in Miami, Travels in Hyperreality’ by Bonnie Clearwater, Museum of Contemporary Art ISBN: 1888708115
2000 ‘Sarasota Biennial-2000’ by Ringling Museum of Art ISBN: 0916758389

Periodicals:2007 ‘Loud and Dirty' by Zane Fisher , The Santa Fe Reporter, May 16
2007 ‘Cooper: I see a red door and want to paint it black' by Michael Abatemarco, THE Magazine, July
2006 ‘Miami makes the scene' by Enrique Fernandez , Miami Herald
2005 'Rubell Collection Exhibits Miami Artists' by Elisa Turner , Miami Herald
2005 'Current Shows- Black Lungs' by Alfredo Triff, The New Times
2004 'Artist Conversations' by Anat Ebgi , 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 ‘In Miami, A Hot Spot of Art, the Temperature is Rising’ by Amei Wallach, New York Times Sep. 16
2001 ‘Things to See, ART’ Village Voice Sep. 6
2001 ‘Ticket to Ride’ by Elisa Turner, The Miami Herald Dec. 20
2001 ‘An Artistic Ode to Miami’ by Damarys Ocana, Street Magazine Dec 22-28
2001 ‘The Hyperreality of It All’ by Alfredo Triff, The New Times Jan 4-10
2001 ‘Robots Take Over Frederic Snitzer Gallery’ by Carlos Reyes, April
2001 ‘Hacer Arte en Miami’ by Armando Alvarez Bravo, El Neuvo Herald Jan. 14
2001 ‘Cooper, Aproppiaciones y Licencias’ by Miguel Sirgado, El Nuevo Herald April 15
2000 ‘Banking on Art’ by Paula Harper, Art In America May


1. ‘COOPER at Fredric Snitzer Gallery’ by Jocelyn Adele Gonzalez, Independent Review May 2001
2. 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, and is in the permanent collection of the Miami Art Museum.
3. The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami’s quarterly report dated January 2008.
4. ‘Loud and Dirty' by Zane Fisher , The Santa Fe Reporter, May 2007

External links

Fredric Snitzer Gallery []
Dwight Hackett Projects []
Artnet []
Artist Website []
Museum of Contemporary Art []
The New York Times: ART []
The Miami Herald: Art Section []
The Next Few Hours []
Miami New Times []
Sculpture Magazine []
The Daily Constitutional []
Find Articles []
Art Facts []
Arte al Dia []
Critical Miami []
Dig []

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