Tommy Nguyen: TURBOGRAFX 16

El Museo is happy to present a solo exhibition of new work by Tommy Nguyen. Previously as an MFA student at the University at Buffalo, Nguyen dazzled us with his larger-, wackier-, softer-than-life PLUSH series of installations and happenings, including a well-received thesis exhibition at Buffalo Arts Studio. Now living and working in New York City, he returns to bring us TURBOGRAFX 16, a surreal (or perhaps hyperreal) installation piece that will take over our gallery space for the month of July. Borrowing its name from the video game console released in 1989, Nguyen wants to take us back, away from our terminally broken present, from the madness of the 2000s, past the excesses and culture wars of the 90s, back to the beginning of the end of history….

“The world is melting and shaking, the forests are burning, there’s not enough water, and everyone is hungry, and it’s not just California this time; we’re all in this together. There’s too much music to listen to, too many family and friends to forget to call, too many countries we will never visit, too many things to like and hate. There is simply too much. But certainly, too much certainty.

“Maybe it’s time for a refresh. Maybe a reboot if things weren’t quite working right. Let’s all come back together, bring with us all the things that simply were bad, wrong, or stupid, and fix it or throw it all away. Well, not everything was terrible. The dancing was fun. And the singing, dranking, and eating. Let’s do it together this time. With fifty percent more Beyoncé and probably a hundred percent less genocide. Let’s live younger, stronger, faster, smarter, brighter, more colorful, odder, queerer, and less certainer.”

About the artist

Born in California, raised by cartoons, Disney, Muppets, Pokémon, rap, rhythm and blues, ABBA, and the Beach Boys, Tommy Nguyen wants to color the world brightly and outside of its lines. He wants to shape and rebuild the imagination for utopias made for the weird, the absurd, the confused, the different and ultraviolet. Through installations and events, he is colliding all popular cultures to create a new alternative mythology that we can share and want to believe.

This show is his gratitude for Buffalo, the city where he was able to become an artist after academic pursuits in economics, law, history, and philosophy. This was where PLUSH was birthed; this is where he found the gift of art and found a community of the best people who supported him and knew how to drank.

Installation views