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Jon Haddock: The Things (that do not spark joy)

Jon Haddock artwork
Jon Haddock
The Things (that do not spark joy)
March 2 through September 15, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, March from 7-10pm  

Artist Jon Haddock explores lines between fiction, media, and reality. Drawing inspiration from both popular culture and high art, he often references the language of comic books and video games to question the use, influence, and role of the image in today’s society.

The Things (that do not spark joy), a mural by the artist, depicts Santa Ana-born actor Robert Webber (1924 – 1989) in his role as Ikar in the television show The Outer Limits episode Keeper of the Purple Twilight from 1964. In the episode, an unearthly being approaches a driven scientist with offers to exchange his alien intelligence in return for the experience of human emotions. Their experiment, however, has unforeseen consequences for both, as soon a team of alien enforcers arrives to destroy them, along with the scientist’s girlfriend, Janet.

In what appears to be a time of societal decluttering, Haddock considers the role of intelligence and emotion in our strategies as a culture for keeping, or not keeping, parts of our abusive history. As many begin to follow advice from individuals such as Marie Kondo to “only keep items that spark joy,” the artist questions if there is any wiggle room for retaining potentially toxic objects, ones that connect to an individuals or societies history? If so, what extra care, defensive protection, and awareness of the object’s lethality must be employed? Are these steps worth it and how do we decide, with our hearts or with our minds?


Jon Haddock lives, works and teaches in Phoenix, Arizona. His work has been exhibited internationally, in venues that include the Yerba Buena Art Center in San Francisco, ZKM Karlsrue, PaceWildenstein in New York, Witte Zaal in Ghent, Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, and The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Mr. Haddock’s work is in the collections of several institutions, including the Whitney Museum in New York and the Henry Gallery in Seattle.

Generous support for the Grand Central Art Center artist-in-residence program has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.