arty arts

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Huzzah! I can officially say what the hell I’ve been up to the last 6 months – my extraordinarily time-consuming project is part of the upcoming ‘Small Stories‘ exhibition opening June 23rd in Brooklyn.

From curator Joetta Maue:
“Small Stories is an exhibit which will celebrate the small moments in life. We are looking for work that tells the stories of the everyday; this can be in a literal or abstract way. Perhaps you make work about the banal, from the detritus of every day life, mapping your daily existence, or from the everyday relationships we surround ourselves with or desire too.”

Banal? Everyday? Small moments?! I was in the midst of a project enormous in scope and triviality, just at the point of realizing the full amount of physical effort needed to make this 2-year-old idea come fully into existence, when I saw the call for submissions. Part mea-culpa, part endurance test, submitting it to the show was the kick needed to finish it. I have been working on nothing else for the last few months, and it has slowly dawned on me that the sheer time investment is probably why no one else attempted anything similar in scale.

If I seem cryptic about my entry it’s intentional- I’d love for everyone to come out and see this bad boy in person, if only to marvel at its utter pointlessness. That’s not a knock- all art is pointless; were it functional, it would be craft. But I digress. The show information’s below, and I, THE ARTIST, will be there in person from 6 to whenever I feel like knocking off and heading to Zombie Hut, the nearby Tiki Bar offering bottomless bowls of Goldfish crackers and Boggle (oh, sweet refuge!). So come on down! Bring the kids! Drag your roommate! Tell your friends!

small stories
an exhibition of fiber work

Opening Saturday June 23, 2012, 6-9pm
On view June 20 – July 22, 2012

at the Urban Alchemist Design Collective
343 5th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Featuring work by:
Neta Amir, Sarah Bahr, Kristy Bishop, Millicent Bradleigh, Danielle Burgos, Nathan Carnes, Marcy Chevali, Marie France Cournoyer, Julie Anne Danylewich, Jane Waggoner Deschner, Autumn-Grace Dougherty, Ann Duggan, Di Ellis,Kelly Fleek, Veronica Fuentes, Peg Grady, Eileen Hoffman, Jane Lee Horton, Jan Johnson, Susan Lenz, Skid Lo, Sanna Majander, Anny Mefford, Laura Mongiovi, Nicole Monjeau, Ruth Moskell, Meg Pierce, Astrid Philipps, Patricia Reis, Laura Reyes, Lora Rocke, Dawn Rogal, Rachel Rose, Bonnie Sennott, Beverly Y. Smith, Ruth Tabancay, Katya Usvitsky, Ansie Vanderwalt, Leni Levenson Wiener

Info on space here.
Info on curator and exhibition here.

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Did I say ‘People’ would be the subject of this post? Well, it’s not, it’s Art. That’s right, it’s my website; I owwwwnnnn this domain name, and until I come up with something more ridiculously hard to spell and pronouce and move it all over there, this is where I decide what to post about next. Ahh, the joys of being a tiny dictator. NOW YOU WILL VIEW THE PHOTOS OF THE ART.

First up, the Fair’s most iconic sculpture, the Butter Cow:

Every year a full-size cow is sculpted entirely out of butter and put on display in the Agriculture building, along with another large sculpture of varying theme. Last year there was quite the kerfluffle over a proposed Michael Jackson sculpture- people were virulently opposed to it and some considered boycotting the fair if it was displayed, though the initial inspiration came from a pun celebrating the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s…wait for it…moon walk.

This year’s theme was less controversial, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham’.

Here we see a Fox in a Box…

And here, a Mouse in a House. Keep in mind, everything seen is sculpted by hand out of Iowan butter. Though they do recycle it, that’s a hell of a lot of butter.

Over at the Cultural Center, I visited the ‘Art Attack’ (no joke, that’s what it’s called on the map). Two floors full of Iowan arts and handicrafts, including a large room devoted to woodcarving and dollhouses:

Crossing through an open hallway to the fine arts room, I passed stands selling loomed weaving, barbwire sculptures, and tie-dyed shirts:

In the open space on the first floor a giant sand sculpture was in process:

Wouldn’t you know it, I come hundreds of miles to America’s Heartland™ and what do I find in the Scrapbook section but hipsters?

In case it’s hard to see, that’s a 7-foot tall guy in a teal t-shirt with bleach-blonde mullet, a guy on the left with handlebar moustache wearing a faded Purple Rain shirt and cutoff jean shorts, a girl with henna-red hair wearing some sort of gold lamè breastplate, and a normal Iowan woman holding a beer looking at me funny. Remember that part in ‘Fight Club’ where Ed Norton says of Marla, “Marla… the big tourist. Her lie reflected my lie. Suddenly, I felt nothing”? Well I was gonna have a field day mocking all the art but they had to go and ruin it for me. Way to go, guys.

Actually, I’m glad people took the time and energy to share their handiwork. Even if it’s not at the highest level of artistic ability, they succeeded in sharing what was important to them with thousands of people. Sure, I can scoff at them, but was I not entertained and engaged? Did their work not speak to me on some level that I thought to capture it for posterity? Being fortunate enough to know many talented people and live in a place that draws even more talent to it from places like Iowa, my bar is raised rather high. Anyway, here’s some art:


His stare will haunt you.


Hauuuuuunt youuuuuuuu.


This picture really pissed me off on some level. Why would a FROG need to ride a FISH, and why would his head need to be above…you know what? Forget it. Just forget it.

Beiber Fever has reached the Midwest; soon the epidemic will destroy the country.


Dear lord, don’t let Kirby be dead. If I’m making fun of someone’s scrapbook tribute to their dead cat I am going straight to hell.

They had a section of the hallway devoted to art therapy. I liked this informative drawing:

Back in the Agriculture building, several tables were devoted to folk craft and food tableaus:


Get it? Get iiiiiit?

Pioneer Hall featured loads of antiques as well as live bluegrass and squaredancing performances. They also showcased large collections and family heirlooms; what really confused me was that they awarded ribbons for the heirlooms and collections. Was it Antique Roadshow-style criteria? Historical value? Size? What?

This guy had quite the crowd watching him perform- er, sculpt:

VRRRRRRR! CHAINSAW AAAAAART!

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As I spent all my money on books comic and art at MoCCA, I’ve been without food the last few days. I only regained strength to type when this morning, as I attempted to scare pigeons away from precious crumb-piles, a kindly plutocrat tossed a half-finished kruller at me. ‘God bless ye, good sir!’ I feebly murmured, and also blessed Ronald Regan’s trickle-down economics as I swatted more pigeons away from my bountiful repast.

While the sugar rush remains I figured I’d share my paper-goods. I purchased entertaining volumes from ‘Hark: A Vagrant!’ and ‘Cat and Girl’, both also available online for your viewing pleasure. While my retinas burn after staring at a bright screen too long, I almost prefer the online format, if only because it prevents me from rushing through the entire printed volume, experiencing the book-variant of too much birthday. ‘Cat and Girl’ particularly should be enjoyed at a more leisurely pace to better enjoy the humor; beyond the initial wordplay and jokes there’s often a pointed observation that…I was going to say ‘deserves time to breathe’ but when I start writing about comics like other guys write about wines perhaps I should step back and start editing.

As with previous years I purchased everything from the Icecreamlandia table, including their latest, ‘Trash Magic’:
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Lovingly screen-printed, it delivers exactly what it promises- trashy people doing all sorts of magic.
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The two artists behind Icecreamlandia collaborated on three minibooks featuring both their styles. Flip the book and you’d get the other artist’s work:
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I veered back and forth as to whose half I liked better, but ultimately ‘Hunt’ won me over from ‘Hunt and Peck’, featuring pages of goofily unaware animals:
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You know how some people talk about how a piece of art ‘moved’ them? I always thought that was bullspit until I picked up a small booklet and came across this image:

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It’s better to let the mystery of ‘why’ remain, but at the risk of overanalyzing seeing the embodiment of everything hated about how women are perceived attacked by comfortably chunky puns made real (catty ladies) ‘spoke’ to me. Specifically it said ‘Take that, Cathy, you whiny bitch’. AACK! indeed. It came from this volume, which though more grotesque than I usually enjoy was quite entertaining:

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Man, am I weeks behind on updating this thing. I attended my first Mermaid Parade this year, apparently much less crowded than last year’s, when everyone thought Coney Island would be shut down forever. There was much glitter and toplessness, as was expected. I didn’t get a picture of the nerdiest walking pun- a guy dressed as a Transformer with octopus tentacles that I later realized was Octopus Prime. Cue horn going ‘waah-waaaaaah’.

insert bad fish pun here.

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