Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Was at the Earl Saturday night. The Atlanta band Club Awesome opened the show. They were pretty fun.

The lead singer showed off his furry chest and wore a furrier hat.

Next came the most bizarre live show I have yet to see.

Dick Cheney. Even scarier in robot form.

Check out the guitar mutation. Captured by Robots played.

The horned trio. The entire band is robots.

Built by this guy, the lead singer, the mastermind, who drives an old Winnebago packed with his robots around the country. This year's tour is called "The Bush Tour."

Crazy Condi was there.

Nancy Pelosi with the symbols and Wolf Blitzer shaking the tambourine.

Not to mention Saddam Husein playing drums.

The robots were incredibly complex, creating heavy metal/hard rock music. There was a lot of Bush screaming about Abu Ghraib and wire tapping, Larry Craig and weapons of mass destruction.

Periodically the Cheney robot would scream "I'm ganna shoot you in the fuckin face!" while his eyes lit up like satan. That joke never got old or any less disturbing.

It was pretty incredible. Speaking of Condi Rice...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Plant More Trees!

Went by Kiang Gallery to see the show "A Billion to One: Dictated Parenthood and the Feudal Mind" by Chinese photographer He Chongyue. The photographs are documentation of Chinese "propaganda walls". The old tiled billboards promote the idea of single child families.

"One Child #8"

Promote Late Marriage - Promote Late Pregnancy. Fewer Births - Quality Births!

"One Child #1"

Plant More Trees - Have Less Babies. Good For the Country - Good for the Family.

"One Child #7"

Harvest Depends on Quality Seed. Having Baby Must Have Quality - Not Quantity.

"One Child #12"
To Have a Warm Harmonious Family - Will Have a Beautiful & Healthy Life

Kiang is also selling a book on the work of Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry.

I think their video work is really incredible.

Apparently they make really large and intense mixed media work as well. I want to see these in person.

"A Billion to One" is in its last week, coming down Nov. 24th 2007. Check it out.

Related Posts:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bomb Pop Cheri

Saturday I made my way over to Marica Wood Gallery to see the new showing of Chris Verene's photography "Galesburg, Yes." (The New Chapters 2005-2007).

"My Cousins Candi and Heidi in Their Bedroom", 1987/2007

Referring to the body of work as "the new chapters" seems fitting. This show feels like a second installment of images and comments on this small town, picking up where Verene's last solo show at Marcia Wood left off. Some of the faces and names are familiar and the writings on the prints are like journal entries or snippets of gossip on the history of these well documented people.

With the "Galesburg Series", I am never quite sure how comfortable I am looking at the photographs, or that anyone is looking at the photographs on display in a gallery. There is a certain level of voyeurism and exploitation mingled with intimacy and appreciation (or concern?) as Verene watches and documents family and friends in the small town of Galesburg, Illinois, through his camera lens.

In the AJC review "Hometown Inspires Photographer" critic Lisa Kurzner argues that "Most of the work has a frenetic pitch, derived through the high-key color and cluttered interiors. Galesburg is an American version of how English photographers Nick Waplington and Richard Billingham photographed the lower middle class at home. But, unlike those of his predecessors, Verene's pictures seem injected with drama of the artist's (not the protagonists') own making."

While I would agree with that assertion, aren't all documentary photographers instilling a certain "drama" or biased perception into whatever or whomever they photograph in an effort to make the image emotionally compelling or at least interesting?

"Cheyenne", 2006

What has really changed my mind about Verene's intentions, and won me over as a fan, was a second showing of his work in the back room of the gallery called "Self Esteem" (New Works and the Past Decade of Decadence.) This body of work, which are glimpses of other, non-Galesburg related projects Verene has been doing over the last decade, gave clearer insight into Verene's own self awareness in wielding a camera and his relationship to the subject.

Examining the issue of exploitation, Verene attends "Camera Club" meetings where amateur photographers take pictures of aspiring models who are most likely posing nude under the false assumption that they are building up a portfolio and gaining experience with commerical photographers. Verene instead turns his attention on the photographers themselves, exploiting the exploiters, and capturing the perverse moments.

And the highlight of my day was the discovery of this lil gem....

"Bomb Pop Cherry", 1995

Move aside Girl with the Pearl Earring, make way for the pop sickle sporting Cheri Nevers. It is possible I have never wanted to possess any photograph as badly as I want this hanging on my living room wall. I can't really imagine there being another grey day with Cheri around to brighten it.

Switching around the letters of his name and donning slightly more form fitting and revealing clothing, Verene created his alter ego, the cross-dressing, luscious Cheri Nevers. As part of a series where friends dress in costume and create wild and fictional scenarios to be photographed, Verene is turning the camera on himself and friends. This series of work almost seems like a necessary reaction to the "Galesburg Series" for Verene to balance himself creatively. More images from these series were found in the now out-of-print book "Camera Club."

In the other half of the gallery, was the small but really worthwhile show "Click/shift/enter Part 2." The show "presents works by contemporary artists incorporating the spectrum of pre-photographic optical techniques to current state of the art video, photographic and digital technologies."

There are a series of interesting video pieces by Monica Duncan and Lara Odell. The videos play with elements of painting and photography, showing an almost completely still image while the background noise of passing cars, birds, etc, keep the viewer aware of passing time and unseen action.
A really friendly and well informed guy working the gallery said that the video should not be viewed "linearally" like most video, but instead he enjoys walking by in now and then and noticing that small things have changed in what seems like a frozen moment.

"I Shouldn't Be Hear", 2007, Peter Bahouth and Amber Boardman.

I'm not sure why this video is encased in a box of fake flowers if not to make the viewer feel like a peeping Tom, looking through a flower bed into a stereoscopic video of an interior not quite as interesting as the box itself.

There is a great piece by Tony Romano called "The Inward Morning, Variation #2" made of glass, one way mirrors, and model trees.

The inclusion of this sculpture into the show dealing with variations of the photographic medium is very interesting. Especially considering the piece is being sold as an edition of 3, much like a photograph. In a sense I guess it is a three-dimensional photograph, like a glamorized diorama, like a photograph it is still only viewed from one plane, one two-dimensional surface. But unlike a regular photograph of snow covered trees, looking at this never gets old.

Both of these shows are definitely worth checking out but will only be up at Marcia Wood Gallery for one more week! Shows close on Nov. 24th 2007.

Friday, November 16, 2007

That Cool Broken

Maybe it's the season, maybe it's that my birthday is quickly approaching (gag), but I've been continuing to think a lot about loss. Here is another poem by Patrick Lucy, this one grapples beautifully with the understanding of presence and loss.


Just this morning
you were there
when you didn’t

and the alarm kept

I really don’t know
if people still actually

I’ve been wearing black

and using your stuff,
borrowing your jacket—
I spent a day in your jockeys

and tried

for the first time since
to jerk off but
(write it)

you were there

when you didn’t
and all our lights went out
because I don’t pay that bill

I can’t

answer the phone—
our machine is full of people
who know you’re there,

pick up, Jonathan,

(write it)
you’re taking much longer to die
than you did.

-Patrick Lucy

Talking about the basis of the poem, Patrick said he had reached a point where "for the first time in my life I think I had a sense of how much a part of my sense of "self" could reside in another person. That led me to consider how the physical loss of that person would result in a period where that person's absence would be so sharply defined it would amount to a presence of sorts. And how that presence might be all that is left of the person, and how hard it might be to move past that."

"That Cool Broken" first appeared in the Wake Forest literary magazine "3 to 4 Ounces."

Previously posted poem by Lucy:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Name Game

"Can't Stand the Rain", 2007, Oil, enamel, collage on panel

Saturday night I heard Kojo Griffin's 3 minute long artist talk during the opening of his new show of paintings, "Sunshine & the rain," at Saltworks Gallery. My friend Amy Salley said she doesn't believe artists should have to talk about their work and I imagine Griffin would probably agree with her. I was reminded of Etienne Jackson's show from the night before because Griffin said this body of work was an "investigation of process." But unlike Jackson's new work, Griffin's reevaluation or exploration of process is not readily apparent. The works seem more finished and more conceptually driven. I tend to disagree with Salley and think that artist should talk about their work, and at enough length that one can understand what type of "investigation" took place.

Griffin said he was breaking down painting to an almost "cellular level."

Considering the painting above is called "Cell of John Henry", he meant that quite literally. Or should I say figuratively since he's not actually breaking down the substance of paint but instead referencing cells and neurons as the subject of his paintings? (Grammar has never really been my strong point as all five readers of this blog may have noticed)

"Supersized Cell", 2007, Oil, enamel, collage on panel

The paintings were done as emotional pairs, i.e. sunshine/rain. Happy and sad are above. And below, this one seems happy in a sort of sad way, but maybe that's just me.

"Everybody Loves K Griffin", 2007, Oil, enamel, collage on panel

"Sunshine & the rain" is up at Saltworks Gallery through Dec. 22nd 2007. Take a look.

Monday, November 12, 2007


New Street Gallery opened a show of new work by sculptor Etienne Jackson Friday night.

Jackson is currently getting an MFA in sculpture at Georgia State. This show is largely the results of experiments Jackson undertook with casting iron in different destructible molds. Using wood, plastic, and cardboard, the iron would burn up the mold, leaving an iron cast of the decomposing form.

Most of the works in the exhibition feel raw - not necessarily finished or precise. Jackson said all of these experiments are helping him understand the limits of different materials as he works towards establishing his own unique process for casting iron sculpture.

This very finished piece stood in contrast to the rest of the show. Almost serving as an example of Jackson's capabilities in metal working and perhaps as the point of departure as Jackson pushes his understanding of process further.

Show up at New Street Gallery through Nov 30th 2007. Check it out.