The Universal Sign for Choking: Press Release

Artist collective INSURGENCY INC’s new show asks it’s audience to ‘Let independent thought and free will be your new Heimlich Maneuver.’

The Universal Sign for Choking

May 9th – May 23rd, 2015

OPENING RECEPTION: May 9th, 2015 7-11pm

Gold Haus Gallery, 5713 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042

 LOS ANGELES, CA – Gold Haus Gallery is proud to present The Universal Sign for Choking, the first solo show from controversial art collective INSURGENCY INC. The collective returns to it’s birthplace, Los Angeles, to present a collection of works that explores society’s conspicuous over-consumption of media and obsession with self image.

Primarily known for their aggressive, often violent, social commentary DIY street art campaigns featuring the slogan ‘Hate Death Fear Sex Money Fame,’ celebrity mug shots, and military inspired tag lines, INSURGENCY INC’s work revels in provocation. The Universal Sign for Choking’s foundation consists of work that holds up a mirror to a society influxed by information and seeks to explore how we consume, or choke, on that information.

The Universal Sign for Choking continues INSURGENCY INC’s mission of DIY motivation with a collection of re-purposed analog and digital image collage, found object installations and sound experiences. The collaged works throughout the exhibition are created solely from images the artists describe as ‘forced upon them’ by society and thereby affording the artists ownership to them.

INSURGENCY INC comments, “We, as a conscious mass of being, are choking. Images, media, words, social pressures, self-imposed unrealistic expectations, and the E! Channel are producing a feeling of strangulation.  But instead of jumping up from our chair, frantically grabbing at our throat and begging for relief, we continue to cram excessive amounts of tripe into our face holes.”

The exhibition features a re-introduction to the collective’s tagline: Hate Death Fear Sex Money Fame, a tagline created from words the artists consider to be the only actual human motivators in modern society.  A floor to ceiling analog ‘tumblr’ wall explores the concept of relaxation in an age of digital overabundance and the ‘calming factor’ of repetition. The main portion of the exhibition is divided into four parts: Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. This minimized OODA Loop model, categorizes a human path of processing and consuming information. The categories, quite indecipherable from each other, are aimed to question human commitment in all stages of life in an age of over-information and explore how our obsession with self and self-image affect these commitments.

The Universal Sign for Choking marks the awaited release of the ‘Toaster in Your Life Tub’ installation, an image reworked many times in the collective’s history as a visual aide to ‘poor choice’ making. The life-size installation created from found objects is an aggressive place mark in the show’s theme of overconsumption. The concept of Death, a popular one in the artist’s work, is seen as inevitable and danger close. We are forced to ask, if our only friend is our computer or smart phone, who will save us?

The artists expound, “In an era when your best friends would rather text you than be inconvenienced by the sound of your voice, best of luck having a stranger step up to the plate in one of the most intimate of all shared experiences: saving your life. “

A Baldessari inspired body of digital images and typography punctuated with sound installations culminates the show with an experience of over-excess in a seemingly controlled setting.

INSURGENCY INC is an American artist collective which gained fame from it’s blog of the same name in 2008. The collective began making street art to expand their ‘battle against societal apathy.’ They famously never claimed to be artists, but rather simply motivators aimed at provoking an audience to “do something, anything” via their DIY street installations and online rants. One of their founders, Abdul Malik, passed away in 2011, and the collective was continued anonymously since. Their artwork and writings have been featured in various digital and print publications and they now work primarily out of New York City.

The Universal Sign for choking is curated by JB Jones of The i-i. For more information please contact: