In Present Tense, the artist considers the possibilities, limits, and consequences of self-transformation.
New York-based artist Dave McKenzie works in a variety of media—sculpture, video, painting, and performance. His work takes a playful conceptual approach to a number of over-arching themes, including artistic and racial identity, generosity, and the everyday.
McKenzie frequently makes use of his own likeness in his work, as in While Supplies Last (2003), a performance that featured the artist in a giant papier-mâché mask of himself giving miniature “Dave” bobble-heads to passers-by. In Self-Portrait Piñata (2002), a performance and video, a hanging “Dave” piñata is bashed by children. We Shall Overcome (2003) is a performance video in which McKenzie dons a suit and giant Bill Clinton mask and parades up and down 125th Street in Harlem.
Present Tense is a deliberately clumsy stop-time animation featuring dolls of Dave and Andy Warhol considering the possibilities of self-transformation. The video addresses the major themes of McKenzie’s practice—identity as an artist, expectations of an artist to transform, performance anxiety—and includes references to several of his other projects.