I go to gallery openings every weekend. They are always free, and they usually have free beer. I see people I know. I see new art. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised and sometimes unpleasantly surprised. These are predictable evenings that I count on.
On Saturday I hit two of these galleries, two of my faves – the McKinney Avenue Contemporary and the And/Or Gallery. The MAC was opening three exhibitions simultaneously; And/Or was hosting its penultimate show. The evening was written by Lewis Carroll and directed by Stanley Kubrick, but I can’t tell if I enjoyed it or not – it was weird and campy, and I left both places confused. Let’s break it down:
The MAC #1 – Armando Romero: XX Century Parade
Romero’s subject matter is kitsch, but it is kitsch articulated with reverence. If you saw the Fast Forward exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art a few years back and liked it, you would embrace this work. Large-scale murals with tiny Matthew Ritchie-esque details (by details I mean Smurfs), scary clowns molded from marble and bronzes displayed on low pedestals that force you into a bird’s-eye-view. There is no denying the skill, but you still laugh out loud. This room topped my list.
The MAC #2 – Tigersprung: Obscure Couture in the Now-Time
Fashion as art is the intended theme of this exhibition, but the room was so circus-possessed on opening night that any object was upstaged by atmosphere. I remember big, bulbous, squishy things in my peripheral vision as I stared at Amy Revier’s performance piece (I can’t describe it, but that’s her at the typewriter in the picture).
I only looked away from Revier when a Sunny Sliger model entered the room (behold Art&Seek guest blogger Lydia Regalado, below. Art&Seek: “What are you wearing, Lydia?” Lydia: “I don’t know.”). The space is too small for so much spectacle; I was overwhelmed visually. The art objects became relegated to mere set decoration for the human pieces on leave from Oz.
Interesting nugget: Sunny Sliger made the costumes on a cast iron 1950 Singer sewing machine that her mom gave her for Christmas.
The Lydia Regalado quote of the evening: “I am pretty cute.”
And finally, there was CG’s Playhouse, CG being “Cow Goddess.” A cow-bedecked car greeted gallerygoers outside the gallery. The car is rad. There is a cow room with cow video. There was a runway show at some point, and I still can’t figure out why — there was the Cow Goddess, and a ninja, and some jugglers and people were cheering. But it seemed like an inside joke, or a fifth-grade slumber party with an all-adult cast. It was fun and silly and big and loud, all the best and worst of the stereotyped Dallas. A carnival without meaning.
The And/Or Gallery show from Austin artist Chad Hopper looked like a garage sale. A fake Prom Party was being held next door at House of Dang, but people were gathering in And/Or’s backyard (by the beer). There was no artist statement, so whatever approach Chad Hopper uses toward making art is a giant mystery, unless “pull junk out of your trashcan and sit it somewhere” is art theory. But I loved watching people behold it all with serious art face. Maybe that was the point? Was I finally in on a joke? Doctored image of Loni Anderson – funny! Corey Haim on a tiny television - totally funny! I had one beer and went home depressed.