A little over a decade ago, Aaron Young was twenty-four hours away from being just another art school outcast. For one of his first art school projects, he created a performance piece involving hours of a professional motorcyclist skidding, popping wheelies, and burning through a canvas he’d laid upon the floor of the San Francisco Art Institute’s studio building. The production filled the entire building with toxic smoke, and the school’s dean expelled Young for the ordeal.
Armed with a video of the piece, Young approached a professor, who declared the work the best he’d ever seen and vowed to resign if they kicked the budding artist out. Since then, Young has shown around the globe in places like the Gagosian, the Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He currently has two L.A. shows on view, with work in Rebel at the Museum of Contemporary Art and a solo show, No Fucking Way, at The Company.
The fashion website Nowness.com made a video profile of Young (featured above), which underscores the artist’s penchant for using motorcycles, the flag, and muscle cars as symbols of American freedom.