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Chicken Soup for the Viewer

By Rhizome

In the last decade, a series of books of the 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' ilk have dominated the self-help market, a sphere with a rhetoric that all too rarely finds itself quoted in the art world. Enter Jacob Ciocci, the Pittsburgh-based artist best known as one-third of the Paper Rad collective. His installation at New York's newly-supersized Foxy Production gallery welcomes visitors with the phrase 'How to Beat Loneliness,' and the show is positioned as Level Zero in the video game of life. 'Inspiration Superhighway,' open through February 4th, is Ciocci's first solo show and it features multi-channel video installations, sculptures, and drawings whose characters 'seek meaning from cultural chaos.' Like his collaborative work, the new projects evoke the sensory overload that results from coming of age in a media saturated culture. Taking on the trope of a little boy's bedroom, the show erects shrines to the Saturday morning deities and Top 40 superstars that populate our transmitted landscape. On the one hand, visitors can identify with a feeling of entrapped isolation. Then again, entering a space created by Ciocci always feels like climbing through a magic rabbit hole into a world illuminated by animated gifs, beautiful colors, and complexly compelling softness. Taking in the artist's remix of 'Don't Worry, Be Happy,' it would be an understatement to say that his work feels good. - Marisa Olson

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