MARCH 2020

Press Release

TILLOU FINE ART is pleased to present works by NY based artist Brian Dettmer at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, opening March 3rd, 2020, with a booth titled TOO MUCH INFORMATION.


Information is the raw material of today. We have an overabundance of text and imagery constantly at our fingertips. In digital media, it is often as fleeting as it is abundant, but when information is put in print we have a stronger sense of its relation to history and its stability for the future. In his work, Dettmer questions this stability and asks what erasure and loss could look like through the lens of printed matter. Reference books have become almost extinct in less than one generation and we are at a pivotal time in the way we record and distribute knowledge and data. Excesses of information can obscure wisdom and truth, often incidentally but sometimes deliberately. Without a stable home to rest in, our agreed truths have been uprooted and are now subject to distortions, erasures, and intentional manipulations.


Through an excessive technique of sculptural excavation using xacto knives and tweezers, Dettmer explores the inner contents of vintage books that have often been relegated to collecting dust or headed for a landfill.  His work’s influences and imagery are dictated by, and as varied as, the subjects within- Greco-Roman architecture, Victorian imagery, Baroque ornamentation, Mid-Century Modernism, Dadaist collage, Pop graphics and Indigenous art from the Americas, Africa and the Pacific islands all inform his sculptural forms. His work is both archival and anti-archival. It is a creation through consumption, an exposure through erasure. Dettmer examines “both the threats and the beauty of rivers of fleeting ideas constantly washing upon us.” He states “The sculptures become idols of fragmented and compressed data, breaking down historic narratives to offer a more direct link to a saturation of simultaneous experiences. We are confronted with a compression of ideas through a single surface, time disappears and the excess of information embraces the viewer as an active participant and a desire to reconstruct.” This abundance of fragmented history reminds us that we are just one part of the bigger picture, as fleeting as the media we create and as permanent as the excess of ideas we surround ourselves in.


Brian Dettmer lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has been the subject of several solo exhibitions including the Hermann Geiger Foundation, Cecina, Italy, the International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago, IL, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta, GA and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA. His works have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, NY; The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; The Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; The High Museum, Atlanta, GA; and the Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL among others. Dettmer’s sculptures can be found in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute, The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The High Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Dettmer’s work has been featured in several publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Chicago Tribune, Art News, Modern Painters, Wired, The Village Voice, Harper’s, CBS News and NPR.