The Understudy: Clay Arlington

5 July - 28 August 2015

Clay Arlington’s most recent series of work Vern Blosum paintings 1961 - 2015,
further the artist’s previous investigations into notions of identity and value.
Rendered from poor-quality scans, the artist has taken images of paintings by a
fellow New York based artist Vern Blosum and had them faithfully painted and

Vern Blosum is an American Pop artist who first came to fame through Leo
Catelli’s gallery in the 1960’s. However upon investigation from MoMA it was
discovered that Blosum was in fact an alias for another artist, and was created
in order to mock Pop Art and the market for it. The identity of the real artist
remains unknown however the moniker Vern Blosum has recently returned to
the public eye become represented by New York gallery Essex Street and is
again showing and selling his work internationally.
Perhaps as a victim of his own success, the wish to provoke the modern art
market in the 60’s has resulted in the artist contributing significantly to the
culture and economy that surrounds the work.


Clay Arlington is interested in the ability of alias’ such as Vern Blosum to
disappear into the infrastructure of the art world and the potential that this decoy
cover has in providing a position for critique. By having poor quality images of
Blosums paintings recreated by artists working for piece meal in Asia Arlington
wants to question the production of value and its relative position of context.
From the cultural influence of international hubs such as New York to the ability
of large scale, cheap production in cities such as Guangzhou the artist wants to
provoke systems of distribution with regards to image making, culture and value.