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visual arts

Patrick Lundeen with his work “Genie Amp” at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York.

Mad Magazine, Pee-wee's Playhouse, Rick Astley, a notoriously bad life insurance commercial: All play a role in Alberta born-and-raised Patrick Lundeen's art. But to say pop culture is an influence doesn't quite tell the story, he says.

"It's more like I feel like it's inside of me in such a way that I can't avoid it. It's part of me," Lundeen, 34, said on Tuesday, while installing his show "Good For You Son" at New York's Mike Weiss Gallery. "I don't even mean to think of this stuff. It just kind of happens because it all gets thrown together in my brain."

Lundeen, who was born in Lethbridge and now lives in Brooklyn, works with found objects, including, in this show, a rug, toilet seat, grocery store posters and a Casio keyboard.

The show at the Chelsea gallery – his first New York solo exhibition – comes as Lundeen, living and working out of a two-room apartment with his wife, toddler and baby (the only bedroom is his studio; the family sleeps in the living room), was getting close to ditching the New York dream.

"I was almost ready to give up," he says. "And [this exhibition] just fell off a truck."

The title of the show comes from a life insurance ad in which a too-enthusiastic man answers the phone and announces: "Hey, it's Patrick. He took out life insurance." As a kid, Lundeen heard this line a lot; it was an easy way to tease a kid named Patrick. The commercial's next line, "Good for you, son" provides the exhibition's title.

"He's owning it now," says gallery director Anna Ortt. "Yeah, it is good for me. This show is a really, really big deal for Patrick."

See the accompanying photo gallery for a guide to Lundeen's art.