Past Wall

You’re Already Dead


  • Juan Capistran

Nov 15, 2014 – Feb 14, 2015
2600 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, Ca 90034

Press Release

Baik Art presents an outdoor wall work by Los Angeles artist Juan Capistran who, for this project, appropriates a lyric from the punk band Crass to harvest new meaning for the phrase You’re Already Dead. The work will be on view from November 15, 2014 until February 14, 2015

It’s easy to say that Juan Capistran’s work is charged with alternative messages that may be considered communally subversive. His prints, paintings and sculptures have unassuming epidermal visual layers that set deceptively innocent tones, but when these surfaces are peeled back, we find something else hidden underneath. Capistran’s artworks contain a dissident’s view of the world and its injustices. On first observation, one may think there is no direct link to antiestablishment thinking, but let the work set awhile and the second and third layers of meaning appear with the artist’s transcendent philosophical connections to revolutionaries, anarchistic subcultures and obscure punk bands.

For this project, Capistran has identified the lyric from the song “You’re Already Dead” by the British punk band Crass. Crass (formed in 1977) is known for their political ideology, which promoted anarchism and resistance while encouraging personal political action. Capistran’s new outdoor wall work (facing La Cienega Boulevard at the southeast corner of Venice and La Cienega Boulevards in Los Angeles) picks up on the band’s lyric as a subcultural occurrence and elevates it to the status of popular culture in the sense that the sleeping masses may now wake up to the inanity (crassness) of massive governments and to the multinational organism that serves to oppress us commoners.

In this case, the lyrical fragments from You’re Already Dead are crossed out as though someone doesn’t want you to see them or, perhaps, they are in the process of revision. Simultaneously, this marking out or graffiti busting of the two phrases could either represent the original writer’s reconsideration of what has been scribed or, maybe the first lyric was just way too pansy-ass for a street writer to take as he happened to be walking by. Whatever change of mind or second thoughts may develop, all bets are off as to what declaration might come next in terms of initiating a peoples’ collective sanity and sense of justice. Just like Crass would want it in a DIY society, the viewer decides.

Pacified. Classified.
Keep in line. You’re doing fine.
Lost your voice? There ain’t no choice.
Play the game. Silent and tame.
Be the passive observer, sit back and look
At the world they destroyed and the peace that they took.
Ask no questions, hear no lies
And you’ll be living in the comfort of a fool’s paradise.

You’re already dead, you’re already dead,
You’re already dead, you’re already dead.

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Juan Capistran