Please Do Not Throw Peanuts at My God (January 28-May 17, 2002)

January 28, 2002 – May 17, 2002

Siddhartha Joag

Siddhartha Joag was born in 1982 in Ahmedabad, India, and spent his childhood in England, Oklahoma, and Minnesota. He now resides in New York City and is an undergraduate at New York University. An avid traveler since he was a child, Joag started to paint on his travels in 1998. Since then, Joag has exhibited widely in public spaces in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. These exhibitions include many commissioned and non-commissioned installations and paintings. His work can be seen throughout the boroughs of New York City.

Please Do Not Throw Peanuts at My God features unusual installation pieces including car doors, street signs, neon signs, spray paint cans, a refrigerator, and other detritus of urban street life, painted over with graffiti. In this manner of painting, Joag juxtaposes the marginalization of life itself with the marginalization of culture. “The works in this exhibition are largely based on a duality,” says Joag. “In the same way that people walk past the aesthetics of the street, people are prone to ‘walk by’ a deeper understanding of anything foreign to them.”

One of the interactive installations in Please Do Not Throw Peanuts at My God is a solid wooden door which Joag found on a street in Brooklyn and upon which he has drawn an outline of his own body. The space within this outline is divided into squares painted with variations of the color brown. Viewers will be able to remove these squares and match a photograph of Joag with the skin color they think he comes closest to. In this way, Joag is commenting on the different values people ascribe to color, and on the fact that color is too often inappropriately used as a defining human characteristic. “Oftentimes people use the word brown or black or white loosely to describe a person without much knowledge of the intricacies of color,” Joag says.

Please Do Not Throw Peanuts at My God, a recreation of the urban setting and an alternative medium for expression of culture, is an expansion of Joag’s graffiti work, which he describes as a “dance on the wall.” Joag believes in a graffiti art form that consists of “motion done only with a sweep of a hand or some part of the body.” Having worked in the public arena for the past three years, Joag became concerned more with the structural part of graffiti rather than the actual letters or words. “The entire point of graffiti is in the name, the proclamation,” Joag says. “So I started working backwards, and focused on the first, raw reaction to the piece rather than the letters.” Through this graffiti work, Joag started to pay more attention to the objects he encountered on walls, street corners, and in alleys.

Joag is currently working on upcoming collaboration shows in San Francisco, Brazil, and Italy. Please Do Not Throw Peanuts at My God is Joag’s first gallery exhibition.