Jayson Musson, aka Hennessy Youngman, Making Sweater-Themed Solo Debut at Salon 94

It’s been a hell of a ride for Jayson Musson, the mutli-disciplinary artist known to many as the YouTube art critic — and self-described “Mr. Museums”Hennessy Youngman, from being deemed a “virgin” of the New York art world, to being scooped up by Salon 94, where he will have his first solo exhibition next week. “Halcyon Days,” which runs July 11-August 17 at the gallery’s Bowery location, will feature a new body of works on canvas inspired by the psychedelic patterns of Coogi sweaters.

In the exhibition press release, Musson recalls the April 2011 epiphany that first sparked his interest in the Australian streetwear brand’s riotous knitwear.

The thing I found most alluring about Coogi sweaters was how painterly they were.They seemingly lingered on the borders of gestural abstraction. I made the joke, “That Coogi looks like a Pollock”. Over the course of the following weeks, I began collecting images of the sweaters, studying their composition. They seemed to defy the traditional logic of the textile, opting instead to appear spontaneous and created by hand rather than machine-made. Each sweater, though a manufactured object seemed to seek its own authenticity. Even the old Coogi slogan “Wearable Art” seemed to confirm the desire for each sweater to be considered an objet unique, a specialized commodity.

The new series marks his first foray into abstraction — his preceding work is figurative, and most of it includes text — with each composition beginning as an attempt to deconstruct a sweater’s pattern.

Musson can be seen wearing a typically colorful Coogi sweater in this classic Hennessy Youngman video:

The sweater was such a conspicuous feature of the video that he felt it necessary to prove that it was indeed an authentic Coogi in a subsequent video:

— Benjamin Sutton