Chicago Works: Scott Reeder at the MCA Chicago

It is difficult to think about Scott Reeder’s work without the word “funny” coming to mind. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago recently opened up with the Milwaukee-native’s first museum show that features his colorful, faux-naïve paintings of smoking fruit, symmetrical pirates, protesting pandas, and humorous still-lives: the usual suspects in Reeder’s art historical and pun-based visual jokes. The exhibition also includes Reeder’s newer untitled spaghetti paintings, made using raw and cooked noodles and spray-paint. Upon entering the MCA, visitors are confronted with a massive, two-story, raw spaghetti painting; commissioned specifically for the show. - Josh Reames, Chicago Contributor

Scott Reeder | Installation view of “Untitled,” 2011, acrylic and enamel on canvas, 180” x 300”

(detail) of “Untitled”

More pictures after the jump!

The monumental scale and airiness of the painting first appears as some sort of Ab-Ex constellation, a heroic gesture echoing the machismo of modernist painting - all of which is undermined upon closer inspection. Here, Reeder takes on the role of the comedian; an individual that is permitted to advance potentially serious subject matter by using the disarming qualities of humor. The spaghetti paintings are less overt in their jokiness than some of the other works, but enhance the contextual reading of them. Aside from the potential for art-critical headiness, the exhibition is undeniably fun - a seemingly rare experience in the art world.

Installation shot 1

Scott Reeder | Symmetrical Pirate, acrylic on canvas

Scott Reeder | Panda Protest, acrylic on canvas

Scott Reeder | Orange With Cigar, acrylic on canvas

Scott Reeder | Blue Still Life, acrylic on canvas

Installation shot 2

Scott Reeder | Untitled, acrylic and enamel on canvas


Scott Reeder | Ideas for a T.V. Show Episode or a Painting, Archival Inkjet print on watercolor paper, 31”x23”

Scott Reeder | Lists, Archival Inkjet prints on watercolor paper, 31”x 23” (each)

The exhibition runs through January 24th, 2012.  Click here to read an interview between Scott Reeder and the curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm, published in Jettison Quarterly.


Scott Reeder is currently living between Raleigh, NC and Chicago, IL. His work is represented by Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago and Berlin, Daniel Reich in New York, and Green Gallery in Milwaukee. He has recently shown his work at Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago; Saatchi Gallery, London; Daniel Reich Gallery, New York; and Luce Gallery, Torino, Italy. 

Josh Reames is a Chicago-based artist and director of Manifest Exhibitions


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