Keith J. Varadi‘s Nice American Guy solo exhibition ran at Sydney’s Sydney, from November 10 to December 15, 2018. Featuring installation, found objects and video, the show presented a lightly nihilistic snapshot of US pop cultural detritus, using the the Los Angeles-based artist’s self-deprecating sense of humour.
Works made from the Varadi’s broken, discarded iPhones, as well as kitsch takeaway cups with dissolved allergy pills, sat among videos like ‘Copyright’ (2016), in which footage from a prison is set to a bass solo by Metallica’s Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus crash in the 1980s. In this video and throughout the show, there was a lingering tension between masculinity and failure.
Nice American Guy nodded to the fractured and anachronistic nature of contemporary US pop, with the country’s current existential moment of transition and imperial decline. As the exhibition text poignantly stated: “You can’t decide where you’re from, but you can decide what you become.”**