During the early 2010s, Parker Ito was known for producing mass amounts of art. “I heard that Picasso made around 250,000 works in his lifetime. I could make that many JPEGs in five years,” he once said. “And when I say five years, I mean five minutes.” In recent years, however, he’s slowed down and settled into working within the gallery system. Having already been shown with Chateau Shatto, the Los Angeles gallery run by Liv Barrett, the artist’s girlfriend, Ito will now also be represented in New York by Team Gallery.
“It’s a strange thing to say, but I think that the work is truly visionary,” José Freire, the owner of Team Gallery, said in a phone conversation, adding that, because Ito’s installations and paintings deal with the internet’s impact on art, they fit in with his gallery’s roster.
Ito became known in the early 2010s for rapidly creating artworks in an attempt to simulate the mass production of images on the internet. His practice grew to a point where he was working with a crew of studio assistants, at times having them help create gallery-size installations that featured digitally edited canvases and sculptures strung up in chains and glowing lights, and accompanied by a smattering of ladders, buckets, and metal objects. As Ito’s work grew more grandiose, it also became the subject of art-world controversy—Stefan Simchowitz was known to flip the artist’s paintings by buying them for low prices and selling at higher ones. “I LOVE PARKER. AND SO DOES THE MARKET,” Simchowitz once wrote on Facebook.
Freire said that for the artist’s upcoming shows with Team Gallery, Ito may slow down the rate at which he creates his works, but that what he does exhibit will continue to be rather large. Ito is planning oversize works for Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, and his first show at the gallery will be similarly extravagant. Ito will put up and take down work—and the walls of the gallery—over the course of three months. Other venues may also be involved, though Freire didn’t elaborate on which. “One of the things that’s important to Parker is to somehow undermine the laziness with which the art world both shows work and looks at work,” Freire said. “For our show, he make as little as four things, but they will be very labor intensive. We don’t want people to forget that over-the-top work.”