[Paul + Brady + Britt + Shana]
Hello art-lovers! First off, let me say on behalf of Tad and all the rock stars at Found Gallery, thank you for your interest and support. We had an exuberant and engaged crowd at the opening, and I’m thrilled to say that, with one insignificant exception, the experiment was a resounding success. Tad and I were clear in our statement at the outset that we considered “Double Up/Double Down” as much if not more of a psychological exercise as a formal one. Our first pass at pairings was based on what interested us aesthetically but the partnerships we eventually engineered were informed by temperament and ego fortitude.
As anyone following the progress of the show no doubt noticed, along the way there were many, many contentious moments between partners. Some felt they were doing all the work and being toyed with, others felt intimidated; some just went nose the grindstone and did the work; only a few lived up to their claims to be “up for the challenge,” and “open-minded.” In the last few days of the studio time, we were nervous about not only the work but the threat of drama at the reception. Then this miraculous thing happened—nearly everyone pulled themselves together, took responsibility for their own actions, and made real art. Some is great, some is good, but each piece has (or had, you’ll see) something to recommend it and at least one viewer picking it as a favorite. Everyone got a valentine. And when partners met, everyone got along and some real life friendships even got forged. We got pretty tipsy just in case there was yelling, but it turned out to be a celebration. Except for this one thing, where one of the artists was feeling pouty and instead of a) seeing the strange ancient beauty and strained humanism of the finished piece or b) growing a set and talking to someone about it, had his hairy cow of a girlfriend blow it up with firecrackers inside the gallery when it was full of people. Very disrespectful to both himself and his partner (the young talent M.M.) as well as to the gallery and curators that had invited him to play. I got mad and had a little YouTube-ready meltdown where my inner New Yorker was in full effect. I’m not proud, but it was pretty funny. I mean what I said, not what they did. They were stupid. Jackass isn’t even a good show anymore!
So anyway!! The boys asked me to write up some of my favorite moments from the show and share them with you. We are having a BBQ on Sunday at the gallery as a sort of closing party, exegesis and curator’s tour (with just me it looks like since Tad’s out of town, but no worries) that I think they are planning on filming and posting later, so I’ll save some of the more formal/art criticism observations for Sunday and the video of it and for now just share some of my favorite surprises from last Saturday…
One example of something we thought might not go so well was that Britt Ehringer's partner Paul Pescador waited until very late in the process and suddenly shredded the canvas and sent Britt back a CD with pictures of its carcass, which frankly frustrated to the point where he decided to wreak revenge by making a whole new piece basically by himself, but based on earlier imagery they had been working with. Their piece, “Spam Alert” is a huge Cibachrome with hand-painted text all over it, a work which in no way resembles what his work normally looks like. It's fantastic, a real show-stopper in fact, to the point where the gallery expressed interest in working with him again, but it’s just a very different style and medium for him, and so we settled on a conceptual framework in which their process still amounted to a real, and successful, collaboration because Paul’s actions knocked Britt so far out of his comfort zone that he landed in territories of his own craft he hadn’t explored. I think Paul has a future as a curator and/or a conceptual artist.
Domenic Quagliozzi bolted his and Leora Lutz's canvases together face to face and we were sure she'd read this as hostile but then she got there and loved it, old school punk rock hottie that she is. Besides, she had taken it to the gun range and peppered it with shrapnel, so I think she respected his gesture. Ashley Tibbits was worried about how the last minute addition of mirrors as frame mounts to her collaboration with Michelle Liu would be installed, but adored (as did I) the hanging curtain installation the gallery came up with, proving that we were all here to help and really looking at the art. Milo Martin and Anne-Charlotte Tavolacci were the challenge winners for sure, keeping their cool and learning from each other and coming up with one of the most seamless dialogues and popular works in the group—though the real crowds gathered around Lisa Adams and Saul Gray Hildenbrand’s hand-operated fake television set/altar like they’d never seen such a marvel of technology before, and this from two painters!
There are many more great things at the show so try to catch it before it comes down this weekend, like Sunday for example, which should be good fun. Cheers! SND