I went to an art gallery opening recently, expressly for the purpose of manufacturing blog material.
This is the secret warehouse where their events take place.
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.
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.
Some were small.
But what got the most attention were the shards of glass jutting from between the floorboards.
Most of the shards were purposefully placed right in front of the paintings, in especially juicy locations for catching people unawares.
In all fairness, we had all been warned.
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.
Thursday February 19th / 6pm / FreeCOME 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Below is a picture of the most centrally located installation.
It’s entitled “Snake in the Grass.”
Ripple had taken to Facebook to explain his work.
“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.)