Art Review: “COME OVER HERE AND TOUCH THIS ROCK”

I went to an art gallery opening recently, expressly for the purpose of manufacturing blog material.

It’s that or a post called “Top 3 Suspicious Baked Goods Left Outside My House.”

But now that you mentioned it. Something is definitely up.

First came the muffins. One January night I came home to find these stray muffs loitering beneath the street light, at the bus stop.

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In the morning, an unknown vagrant made off with the muffins, leaving all but five.

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Five muffins, aka one muffin for each of the points on the pentagram.

fierypentagram

Weeks later, I found a baguette in the same spot.

The baguette points directly toward the fire hydrant, which is there in case of flames.

The flames of a flaming pentagram.

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Occult symbols aside, I guess it’s not to hard to piece together what happened. People arrive at the bus stop with their carb snacks, only to have the fascist bus driver tell them that Austin city buses no longer allow gluten.

But I dare you to explain what my roommate found in the bushes.

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Pruning back a Turk’s cap bush, Erin uncovered a bag of moldy bagels.

In order for them to reach the side of the house, someone had to have hurled the bagels from the sidewalk.

It’s a full bag of bagels, i.e. a bag of bagels that had its whole life in front of it.

We’ve got the body, but not the motive. Someone thinks they can make a fool of ME, Detective Chief Superintendent Impudence. We’ll see.

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Your days are numbered, bread bandit.

“Come Over Here and Touch this Rock” was a Museum of Human Achievement production, so I knew it was worth the trip. The Museum of Human Achievement is a society of human-shaped warlock moles that emerge into a warehouse a couple of times per month to hold up a mirror to the farce of modern life.

This is the secret warehouse where their events take place. I would tell you where it is, but you didn’t ask, which I take personally.

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I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure this little pile of rocks on the floor was the main event.

But there’s a good chance I’m reading too much into the title of the exhibit. I didn’t see anyone touching the rocks, or being encouraged to touch the rocks by the artist.

Judging by the events that followed, the rocks were not the point. Far from it.

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There was a collection of thirty or so paintings, with titles like “Navajo Brainwave Water Slide,” “Chachi Loves Droni,” and “Is This My Brain or a Toupe, and Why is It So Small?”

Some were large.

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Some were small.

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But what got the most attention were the shards of glass jutting from between the floorboards.

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Most of the shards were purposefully placed right in front of the paintings, in especially juicy locations for catching people unawares.

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In all fairness, we had all been warned.

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This is the enticing artist’s statement that I received via e-mail, because I am one of the few people in the world with enough moxie to join the Museum of Human Achievement’s mailing list.

 Art Opening

Thursday February 19th / 6pm / Free

COME OVER HERE AND TOUCH THIS ROCK…

Work by Eric Gibbons, Greg Piwonka and Sean Ripple

Come Over Here and Touch This Rock, an art show based on the mental conundrums of daily life played out in creations, realized through improvisation and process, their sole purpose just to exist. Eric Gibbons and Greg Piwonka use painting to explore landscape and portraits in an unconventional sense. Beauty is evident in their work but sometimes takes a backseat to grotesque.
I know you didn’t read all that. Here’s what is should have said:
LOOK OUT FOR THE GLASS…
Eric, Greg, and Sean did this art show. There will be free drinks, but no bathrooms. Just a Port-O-Potty. The Port-O-Potty is grotesque.

For the 30-plus minutes I stood around with my free moonshine cocktail, trying to work up the courage to demand that the artist responsible for the glass explain himself. He was on the move, smoking cigarettes and taking pictures of people tripping over his sculptures.

His art drew by far the most conversation.

Take heed, kids. Notoriety doesn’t mean you’re the best. It means you’re the most dangerous.

The sculpture below featured a piece glass in front of a weird little bag of shit.

After a man tripped over it, breaking one of the sheets in glass in two, the artist asked if he could take a picture of his feet.

The artist, right. The ashamed feet, left.

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Sean Ripple took the desecration in stride, and updated Facebook with pictures of the people who had kicked over the shards of glass, dubbing them “remixers.”

Second and Third

 

Visitors remixing sculpture

The exhibit was punctuated by dismayed cries of people accidentally breaking glass with their stupid, stupid feet, or coming close only to have a someone pull them away from the danger, just in time.

I call this photograph “Disaster Averted N0.5.” Someone had just yanked this young man to one side, inches from shredding those shiny blue sneakers.

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I had ventured out to the gallery on my own. No one was there to help me remember there was glass in front of most of the paintings, and I came awfully close to making a scene.

Exactly THIS CLOSE.

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Maybe part of me wanted the attention.

Looking up from my near disaster, I could sense a dark energy radiating from the corner of the room.

And I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being laughed at.

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Below is a picture of the most centrally located installation.

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It’s entitled “Snake in the Grass.”

Ripple had taken to Facebook to explain his work.

Space sculptural force

“environments help to define outputs…how space is used is a sculptural force.”

There’s a lot to unpack here.

The gallery is the environment. The output is an art exhibit. You, the artist, are the sculptural force. You used space to create a series of booby traps.

After enough people had tripped, our grimacing faces began to look more and more like portraits on the wall.

This is the one I identified with the most.

(The one on the floor, barely noticeable but for its mouth full of fangs.)

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