$#%& Show 2018: Photo Essay
We (the royal one) hold esteem for a certain kind of exhibition. A solo show that was a year or two in the making, a 40-year retrospective, and the like. $%#& Show 2018 is not that kind of exhibition.
Jon Whitfill, Sydney Kim
In it’s third iteration at the 5&J Gallery at CASP in Lubbock, Chad Plunket and I chose 5 artists each to make work from start to finish in 24 hours, at the gallery, using an assigned material. (In previous years, given materials were “cardboard” and “clothing”.) This year, artists had a two weeks notice that they would use “found art,” meaning items and images that were previously considered art.
This reality-TV like set up isn’t really trying to hold up to longstanding oeuvres, rather, it intends to challenge an artist in an immediate sense, and maybe foil their process. (It should be noted: this isn't a review, it's more of a "what does this kind of exhibition set up do for artists?" reflection.)
For some, like Jon Whitfill, they end up doing something completely out of their wheelhouse. When I walked in last night, if I didn’t already know what found items Jon had, I wouldn’t have guessed it was his piece: “a house divided against itself,” comprised of a terminator-eye bearing Abe Lincoln with a low-relief Masonic sun turning the figure into icon. I don’t imagine Jon’s work is going to be interrupted by this piece and take a turn to the heavily political, but he uses books so who knows.
Lindsey Maestri and Zach Morriss built upon their on-going practice, with pieces that bookended the gallery. I wouldn’t say Maestri’s knit and crocheted potholders and other-people’s-ceramics took on new life as objects, rather, they seemed saddened by their new nonfunctional role, a tiny, naked cairn that was a little too close to the wall (and I wouldn’t change a thing.)
Jimmy Peterson and Jonah Bresley used the prompt for thriftstore paintings, turning out some really playful, off-the-cuff pieces with classic, duo-tone thrift store frames. I was half expecting garish, clunky assemblage (which I adore) to be the aesthetic throughout the show, and I am glad only these two pieces took it on.
Maisie Marie Alford
In choosing artists to not only make work in 24 hours, but plot out and light an exhibition, there is a lot of hope and trust that they won’t blow it. The best case scenario are when pieces knock your socks off- and two did so in supreme ways this year. Maisie Marie Alford used the work of other artists and made two pieces- her second, “after Félix González-Torres “Untitled” (Public Opinion) with purple” was literally a pile of Félix González-Torres’s candies from the Guggenheim in New York. I hadn’t considered that artists would use “real” art, and the gesture was sincere (and maybe a little legally questionable. Cool.)
In this same vein, Cody Arnall’s “Walking in an Exaggerated Manner with Bruce Nauman” is a video of Arnall mimicking Nauman’s “Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square,” overlaid with the original. The effect is comical, weird, and a little creepy- so not too far removed from the 1967 performance. What I love about Arnall’s piece the most is his consideration for the projector, with it’s sculptural, awkward arm that extends out, creating another square- with a perimeter upon which no viewers that I saw intruded.
5&J is reserved for another $#%& Show in January 2019, and if I were hard-pressed to choose three finalists to move on for next year’s show...I’d say luckily I don’t have to give anyone the boot. Well, actually, Chad Plunket has got to go. (For keeping the tradition of rotating curators, not for creative differences. Chad was a delight.)
Zach Morriss, Aaron Hegert
Maisie Marie Alford