FAILE is the Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. The name is an anagram of their first project, “A life.” Since its inception in 1999, FAILE has been known for a wide-ranging multimedia practice recognizable for its explorations of duality through a fragmented style of appropriation and collage. While painting and printmaking remain central to their approach, over the past decade FAILE has adapted its signature mass-culture-driven iconography to a vast array of materials and techniques, from wooden boxes and window pallets to more traditional canvas, prints, sculptures, stencils, installations, and prayer wheels. FAILE’s work is constructed from found visual imagery, often blurring the line between “high” and “low” culture. Exhibitions sometimes emphasize audience participation, a critique of consumerism, and the incorporation of religious media, architecture, and archival research into their work.
The FAILE Temple was originally conceived, designed, and created between early 2009 and mid-2010 for Portugal Arte 10, incorporating old-world production techniques with modern influences. Materials include ceramic, marble, bronze, cast iron, steel, limestone, and mosaic. Temple epitomizes FAILE’s history of bridging the divide between museum, gallery, and city square. The production process may be described as 3D sampling, in which seemingly disparate pieces are collected, arranged, and reconstituted as something wholly other yet remain animated by the energy and spirit of the original.
Embodying FAILE’s migration from the strictly visual to the interactive, Temple re-conceptualizes sacred structures, inviting audience play and interaction. The edifice serves as a new site of public communion, one recognizing religion as social artifact while reminding us of an underlying desire for unity that is often occluded by our urban constructs, whether cathedrals or skyscrapers.
BEYOND THE STREETS Los Angeles, 2018. Photo by Beau Roulette.