Friday, April 25, 2014

Colin Cook on LARZ this Sunday

"...unlike the closed-circuit reflexivity of his solo projects, these works shift much of their anxiety away from the gaps between creator, artwork, and audience. Instead, these discontinuities are internalized along the boundary between two mutually exclusive domains of representation – Cook’s fussy photorealist renderings VS Shambaugh’s unschooled cartoonish primitivism. The role of straight man or foil – previously filled by the viewer – is enacted in the strictly negotiated collaborative process as well as the finished artifact.

But which is which? The abutment of these discrete modes in this once-removed theatrical space encourages literary, symbolic speculation. There is obviously a fundamental dualism at play in these mutually interpenetrating but non-porous illusionistic realms. But what other dualisms -- among the myriad defining the phenomenal world -- are implied? There’s certainly class and gender polarities embedded here, but many of the subtleties of the work depend on the ambiguity of the two drawing styles’ respective validity in the art world.

Ironically, on it’s own, Shambaugh’s incorrectness commands more currency in contemporary art terms – with recent contextual conceits like “Bad Painting”, deskilling, and the continued blurring of high art with the traditions of illustration and comics. In contrast, the accomplished rendering that goes into Cook’s portions of the pictures has been relatively unsupported since the advent of Abstract Expressionism, having to provide its own quotation marks if it wants to become part of the discussion. Thus the areas realized with elevated criteria-laden skills – the landscapes against which men pose, the female participants (almost exclusively) in the sexual pairings, and the beleaguered face of Cook – depend on their symbiotic contact with wrongness to be right.

While these are rewarding areas for narrative conjecture, the most significant impact of the collaborative model has been on the parameters of self-conscious isolation portrayed in Cook’s art, where discrepancies in political nuance are trumped by an emphatic egalitarianism. The seemingly insurmountable chasm between self and other (which in his solo work is played out as a one-sided -- therefore arguably hierarchical -- communication from a tower of creative solipsism) is translated into a diagram of equilibrium, a yin-yang of intricately frustrated miscegenation..."

Read the rest of When Worlds Collude: Colin Cook’s Irreconcilable Differences here.

See more of Colin's collaborative drawings with Bill Shambaugh here.

And tune in to KCHUNG Sunday April 27 at 12 Noon to hear Colin live on Doug Harvey's Less Art Radio Zine, listening to their grad school collaboration with Hector Romero "The Charles Ray Experience," Colin's postgrad antics with 'patacritical oldies cover band The Legion of Rock Stars, soundtracks to some of Colin's amazing videos, and much more!

PS, I got the "COOK" logo from the label of one of COOK Laboratories records, which seems curiously appropriate to the collaborativity discussed above, and beyond. Dig it:

Image: Colin Cook with Bill Shambaugh, portrait of the artist with a pretty girl (nestled fruit), 2012, Pencil and graphite powder on paper, 87 x 61 cm

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Derek Boshier, Modern Painter

While getting together my material for Derek Boshier's appearance on Less Art Radio Zine, I discovered that Modern Painters had put my feature on him from last Fall online, and that I had never got around to posting any of it here. So since he has this big opening at Night Gallery tonight, I figured what the hell. Right?

Derek Boshier has never had the best timing. In what was perhaps the archetypal grad-school, cradle-robbing, star-making group exhibition of the contemporary era, the 1961 “Young Contemporaries” at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London’s East End, Boshier, alongside Royal College of Art classmates David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj, was anointed one of the seminal generation of British Pop artists. One of the most startling fallouts of this initial burst of attention was a controversial 44-minute BBC documentary entitled Pop Goes the Easel (aired March 25, 1962), featuring Boshier, Peter Blake, Peter Phillips, and the doomed, incandescent Pauline Boty in a dazzling, fragmentary, surrealist—and currently unavailable on DVD—collage by director Ken Russell in his auspicious debut.

Instead of riding the media wave to Swinging Sixties celebrity—as any Pop artist worth his soup would do—Boshier capitalized on his big break by disappearing to India for a year. Was he on some proto-hippie mystical quest or merely looking for more colorful package design to appropriate? “No, I just wanted to travel,” he replies in his art world–burnished but still distinctly working-class accent. “I was finished with college and didn’t know what to do next, and I saw a poster advertising government scholarships to go overseas, to India or Canada. I’ve always loved to travel; I’d already been to Spain and Morocco. So I applied and got it.”

Ensconced on a hillside overlooking the Los Angeles River, the I-5 freeway, and Elysian Park (home to both Dodger Stadium and the LAPD Police Academy), Boshier has about as quintessential a view as one can get of the postmodern city he has called home for the past dozen years. Having recently celebrated his 76th birthday, Boshier is at the height of his powers, operating globally from a 1920s Cypress Park bungalow and tapping a new generation of admirers in the local scene, including Ry Rocklen, Laura Owens, and the proprietors of the ├╝bertrending Night Gallery, where he’s just scheduled a show for spring 2014.

Read the rest of Derek Boshier, a British Pop Renegade, Is Rediscovered in L.A. at Blouin/Artinfo's Modern Painter page, or after the jump...

Whippet restitution Pt1

I have been remiss in reporting on the recent triumphs and everyday antics of my sighthound friends, so I'm just going to throw some stuff up with minimal commentary. Here's Nigel at a Night Rally class.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Derek Boshier on LARZ ready for DL!

Derek rocked the LARZ-house on Sunday, with selections from his former student "Woody" Mellor's band "The Clash," plus David Bowie, the Pretty Things, John Lennon, and more. At the end we hear the remarkable audio collage soundtracks to two new films that make up part of the Boshier-centric group show Cogwheels Carved in Wood opening at Night Gallery Saturday April 19th at 7 PM.

Download the program from the KCHUNG archives now. Here's the link: the link.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Derek Boshier on LARZ!!!

Been a crazy week with dog shows and a movie being shot next door and what have you, and I was having trouble getting a guest lined up for Less Art Radio Zine -- Jeffrey Vallance and Elliott Hundley both agreed to do later shows, but I thought I was going to have to wing it with my record collection, until the great English Pop artist Derek Boshier said he was willing to come on, even though he will have presumably been up late at Night Gallery's one-night-only re-staging of his Journey/Israel Project installation originally exhibited at the Miskan Le Ormanut Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Israel in 1996.

Derek's a great talker, came of age in swingeing London, and worked with David Bowie and The Clash, so this should be a good one. Not that they're not all good. That's Doug Harvey's Less Art Radio Zine at 12 noon on Sunday April 13 on KCHUNG pirate radio,

PS: Here's a link to my September MODERN PAINTERS feature on Derek: the link.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Artistic Suicide - Now More Than Ever?

As a sidebar to my catching-up-on-posting-art-writing project, I just noticed that long-running LA-based art journal X-Tra has put some of its back issues online, including the one with my feverish ramblings on why nobody has committed suicide as an an artwork (as of 1998), entitled "This world was never meant for one as beautiful as me: Artistic Suicide and the Blunting of the Avant-Garde". Later on I did a pretty extensive interview with Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh, but that one's not up yet.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

F for Found Moldy Slides Performance Pix

Here are a bunch of images from the F performance at my solo show of Found moldy Slides at Jancar Gallery, on Friday April 4, 2014. F was DougH, Marnie Weber (playing theremin with a hoe in a backwards crone mask!) and Daniel Hawkins, with a projection of 80 previously unseen moldy slides (projector operated by Tom Jancar). Thanks to everyone who came out -- I'll try and get an audio recording pieced together in the next while.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mike Kelley on LARZ available for DL

I really have to start writing out the stuff I want to say beforehand, or at least think about it. You can skip over the bumbling talky parts though, when you download this hour+ of highlights from Mike Kelley's career as an experimental musician. The main point I made that I think is worth re-emphasizing is that if he had produced only this wide-ranging, ambitious body of sound work Mike Kelley would be an extraordinary figure in contemporary culture

The most surprising thing to me was that I could have programmed a whole hour of ambient droney instrumentals dating all the way back to Destroy All Monsters -- people expect some one banging on a drum and yelling about poop, but that's just the start!

The mp3 is available for free download from the KCHUNG archive. Here is the link: the link. Bear in mind that this is fairly low bitrate mono mp3, and if you dig what you hear you should seek out the original recordings, most of which are still available from the Compound Annex section of Mike's website. 

Thanks to Jim Shaw for filling the gaps in my collection at the last minute! I'll try to add a playlist here when I get a few minutes...