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The Decadent Lifestyle Of Chad Bentley

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Lost in decadence, we caught up with the unconventional tastemaker Chad Bentley. Some might say Chad is American Royalty, the country club shenanigans, Penthouse living, popping a few bottles in a downtown’s member’s only club. He lives an unattainable lifestyle with unmatched fame and success. Bentley’s life experiences is an expensive drip of affluent encounters.

In other words, Chad is the epitome of celebrity status and trust fund bets. Also, The proud owner of The Collection II, a set of priceless 20th century fine arts Topps trading cards depicting some of the fascinating stories and figures in the game of arts. Gucci first featured these rare trading cards in their Spring 20 collaboration with Chad.

Chad Bentley

I wanted my artist trading cards to capture this detail and importance and also maintain the idea that they’re just some card stock. I wanted them to be easy to access and also talk directly to the art world.

Miles Warner

Love him or hate him; the glamorous lifestyle has everyone wanting to be him or be seen with him. There could be a little bit of Bentley decaying away inside of all of us. Of being exposed to the intoxicating smoke and mirrors surrounding success and the finer things in life.

But who is Chad Bentley? As Chad, just simply sounds too good to be true. Nominated for Bentley’s role is conceptual artist Miles Warner inspired by the quest for cool and contemporary pop-culture.

He has built a platform in this fabricated persona casting profoundly critical commentary on the upper echelon, contemporary art culture and the immortalization of the new American dream with a hint of absurdity.

Warner’s evaluations are the ongoing evolution of his conceptual ideas formulated by contemporary culture championed through Bentley. Where all you can do is stare at the dangling carrot asking yourself, Am I a Chad Bentley?

Q: What is your inspiration, and why do you do what you do?

A: I’m inspired by the quest for cool. I’m always on the hunt for the things that strike a special tone in the never ending barrage that is popular culture. Across media, time and space, the moments that are cool are the special things.

These instances are like solving an impossible math problem and being presented with bitcoins. I’m obsessed with things that shine just a little brighter and of course how/why they do what they do. From Ron Popeil to Cam’ron I’m inspired by the unique and indefinable ability to showcase cool. The idea for Chad Bentley was born in absurdity and has recently transitioned into the quest for cool. I’m totally addicted to it and there is no limit to the different instances and incarnations in which we encounter it.

2016 TOPPS, Damien Hirst, Japanese, Burger King Pressing, PSA GEM — MT 10, 2018
1 inch Lucite and photograph
6 x 4 x 1 in (15.24 x 10.16 x 5.08 cm)
Q: Can you tell us about your creative process?

A: My creative process is based on research and understanding why amazing things are the way they are. From analyzing the spectacle of celebrity down to the text layout in movie title credits, it all matters and I’m always scoping this stuff.

I try to not try and just enjoy. The popular sphere is never lacking in content to consume so it’s a balance of exploring and picturing until you come across an idea that you can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes I think about the idea forever, sometimes it just winds up getting worked on right away. All this with about a 3% success rate.

1981 TOPPS, Jeff Koons, Rookie Card, PSA GEM — MT 10, 2018
1 inch Lucite and photograph 6 x 4 x 1 in (15.24 x 10.16 x 5.08 cm)
Q: What is the reason behind your critique of contemporary culture in your work?

A: The critique has many different reasons, sometimes just being a highlighter for the absurd. Sometimes you just wanna point at something. I try to organize the moments where we cannot look away and we’re lost in the decadence.

You find yourself cursing the twisted social system we have in place but also praising its very existence because it gave you moments of Ric Flair and Kevin Garnett. It shifts but it’s always the impetus for new ideas and new work.

The Collection II
Q: Chad Bently is a modern-day representation of a decadent persona. Can you elaborate on the inspiration for Chad?

A: Chad Bentley is the platform to explore. He’s got the opportunity to be anything, at any time. He’s my vehicle for everything. He’s in the secret club, he has the passcode, he is a tastemaker. He’s totally inspired by the quest for cool. From golden era hip hop to boxing brash to country club cardigans he’s an amalgamation of things that just stand out.

1963 TOPPS, Rising Stars, Drew Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, PSA GEM — MT, 2018 1 inch Lucite and photograph 6 x 4 x 1 in (15.24 x 10.16 x 5.08 cm)
Q: In your latest project, we see you utilized the legendary Topps card as a medium, why did you decide Topps was the best platform for your expression?

A: Baseball cards are a perfect object. Everyone has had their hands on them in some capacity. We know that they are worthless and can also be absolute treasure. Their worth is based on the most intricate knowledge, minutia and provenance, leading to research, leading to art. With large price tags come enthralling stories.

I wanted my artist trading cards to capture this detail and importance and also maintain the idea that they’re just some card stock. I wanted them to be easy to access and also talk directly to the art world.

Q: What was the first piece of art you made that cemented your path as an artist?

A: At one point I was totally obsessed with infomercials and Billy Mays. Yelling and slangin’ Oxy Clean was this perfect little example of how I strangely appreciated this small piece of popular culture that could only exist here and now. I was making really terribly crafted objects/props that were supposed to be infomercial products.

2018 TOPPS, Banksy, Limited Release, PSA GEM — MT 10, 2018
1 inch Lucite and photograph 6 x 4 x 1 in (15.24 x 10.16 x 5.08 cm)

I made this thing that fit over your hand and it would slice bread, inventively named ‘The Breadslicer.” It was terribly made. So bad that it forced me to create the personality, Chad Bentley, and it kick started a path down performance, installation and intermedia. Looking back I’m so glad it forced me way out of my comfort zone. I’ve been trying to get better at building things ever since.

Q: What was your most memorable exhibition, and why?

A: I was in Philadelphia at Practice Gallery and put together a performance called Chad Bentley & The Story Of The CHAMPAINTING. I was obsessed at the time that I was an artist trying to be a celebrity and all these celebrities were crossing over into the art world. I decided to be artist as celebrity as artist and it opened some paths for my studio process in general, a reminder to keep making the rules yourself. Chad was going to make art right before you eyes by adorning blank canvases with small release Dom Perignon CHADBENTLEYUSA with different objects.

The champagne splashed canvas immediately was hung in place on the wall and tagged while the object was mounted and memorialized. It was memorable in the fact I shot champagne out of a 1st edition Super Soaker 50 and some people cheered. Also memorable that I thought it was really cool to smash together the words champagne and painting. Remember the quest for cool never ends.

Miles Warner
1981 TOPPS, Jenny Holzer, Bubble Gum Edition, NM — MT 8, 2018
1 inch Lucite and photograph
6 x 4 x 1 in (15.24 x 10.16 x 5.08 cm)
Q: What is your favourite piece, and why?

A: My favorite piece right now is the objects created by Chad during his residency at Nike. He was tasked with crafting concept art that would outline the creative direction of Nike Japan. The concept art manages a balance of classic Nike simplicity with designs that reference an unknown tomorrow filled infinitely with new materials and technology. That’s a super lengthy way of saying I like that I assigned my fake character a position of prominence at one of the world’s great brands and he delivered on navigating a new frontier for them.

Q: What do you think about the current state of the art world for artists?

A: The art world seems to be expanding every day, I don’t know really. I think that there’s always room for those willing to make something that kicks ass. The internet makes it instant, which is not a new idea but it’s still cool. I wish I had a better answer. I think there are opportunities as always, the only angle is to stay sharp and be ready.

Sunflower Gucci
Q: What role does the artist have in society?

A: The artist is the great organizer. They can drop hunks of glacier at city hall, make sunflower seeds, or even basketball trees. It can be grand and smart or simple and trivial. That’s what is so great about it, there’s no rules for what you need to be or do. I think it evolves and changes with each project or series.

Q: What artists have caught your attention in the last five years?

A: Tyrell Winston, the basketball grids blew my mind. Simple as that. They’re so badass. Virgil Abloh, inspiring in every sense. I think the details and depth of what he does is incredible. Jonny Neische, the perfection/simplicity is astounding. Total bug zapper effect. Just to name a few, those three have been on my mind this week.

2015 TOPPS, Anish Kapoor, Blackout Series, PSA GEM — MT 10, 2018
1 inch Lucite and photograph 6 x 4 x 1 in (15.24 x 10.16 x 5.08 cm)
Q: What’s next for you as an artist?

A: Right now I’m working on a series of works that detail the Gucci “Forever” Series. It’s a run of small batch objects and videos created/directed by Chad Bentley that detail the nuance of forever. The partnership details a lingering touch and go between the two design moguls and their meeting culminates in objects, ephemera, designs and movements that showcases timelessness. So in short, what’s next is always more details in the timeline and decisions that add to the sphere of Chad and his brand CHADBENTLEYUSA.

https://www.instagram.com/chadbentleyusa/

http://www.launchf18.com/viewing-room/miles-warner

©2021 Miles Warner, CHADBENTLEYUSA, LaunchF18

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