DUSTIN T. KELLY
A FANíS NOTES
THE DEVIL HAS WORK FOR IDLE HANDS
November 17 Ė January 5, 2013
Saturday, November 17, 6-8pm
Wednesday Ė Friday 10:30-5:30
Steven Wolf Fine Arts
2747 19th Street, A
San Francisco, CA 94110
DUSTIN T. KELLY
For his upcoming show at Steven Wolf Fine Arts, Dustin Kelly draws on his identity as a football fan to transform the fraught, oedipal contest between young artists and the great mythmakers of American abstraction into an easy-going bromance.
Kelly began to address the history of golden age American abstraction in his 2010 show American Water, in which he pushed action painting to absurd lengths by dispersing pigment across heroic-sized canvases with beer that had been shot-gunned college-fraternity style.
In A Fanís Notes, Kelly he continues that project by bursting through a series of paper screens wearing helmet and holding football. It's an exploration of end-game painting strategies using pre-game football rituals that also echoes a celebrated performance by the Gutai, a Japanese avant-guard art group from the 1950ís. Not only does the process produce a dramatic, multi-panel action sculpture, but it allows Kelly to make room for himself in a beloved fraternity of artists that evolved along the Paris/New York axis, on his own terms as a Midwesterner, using the vernacular aesthetics and spectacle of the game he loves.
The various ways in which the football has been used as prop in touchdown celebrations forms the basis of another work; it's a series of photographs that drain out the punitive and celebratory nature of this performance art, leaving behind a residue of formal aesthetics that relate to sculpture and performance.
Through a physical recreation of New England Patriotís coach Bill Belichickís famous hoodie, Kelly attempts to create a work that is both relic and perpetrator of myth. And, taking a page from the playbook of legendary Iowa Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry, who painted the visitors' locker room pink upon hearing that it was used in prisons to pacify inmates, Kelly revisits the monochrome through color theory and social engineering via coaches' psyche-out mind games.
Just by consorting with organized sports, a hyper-hetero taboo in the self-conscious high-culture of visual art, Kelly reintroduces a level of daring and risk that is frequently absent from abstraction. Rather than highlight the differences between the game of football and the project of abstract painting, however, A Fanís Notes demonstrates their unexpected similarities: the field and the picture plane are almost always well-proportioned rectangles; both artists and teams usually have a plan, which often breaks down, allowing for spontaneity; color is strategically scattered; both activities came of age in a vanished industrial America, and are now devolving from their formal trajectories into soap opera and reality show entertainment. Above all, A Fanís Notes is about being a fanóbe it of football or contemporary art.
Steven Wolf Fine Arts will host The Devil has Work for Idle Hands, the first-ever exhibition of John Seabury's drawings. The Berkeley artist first came to prominence in the music underground of the 1970s with a series of flyers advertising his band the Psychotic Pineapple. He has since gone on to acclaim as a designer of posters for rock clubs like Slims and bands such as ?, and he continues to perform on stage as well.
In Seabury's drawings, soulful, freakish-looking males dwell in skewed landscapes alongside gorgeous and disturbing females. Faces and bodies are pushed to extreme limits, and landscapes are infused with dime-store paranoia. Seabury has a natural gift for draftsmanship, a beautiful, obsessive line born from the horror vacuii of psychedelic posters and the grotesque cartooning of underground comics. There is a surrealist dissonance and a wise-cracking punch line in everything he does as though Salvador Dali had loaned his pen to Curly from the Three Stooges.
During his 35 year career, Seabury has also experimented with sculpture and printing: his etchings are remarkable for the way they classicize weirdness, and his monoprints make clever use of the castoffs from his commercial music projects. But it is the flyers from Psychotic Pineapple that stand out for their aggressively obnoxious character, visual impact and sustained narrative.
Psychotic Pineapple was created in 1974 by two members of the Berkeley power pop band Rubinoos as an outlet for the wise-ass energy that they couldn't secrete into their mainstream music. When Rubinoos took off, leaving no time for the irreverent side project , Pineapple was deeded to four musician friends of the band, including John Seabury. With stripped down pre-punk garage charmers like I Wanna Get Rid of You, and She's Boss, the band attacked any pretense that remained from the days of utopian, hippie rock and roll. Their loud, scary, chaotic shows, which included a nut job dressed as a pineapple, baited the audience in a way that would soon become common in punk rock, and almost always insured that they would not be invited back.
The flyers chronicle the Pineapple's transgressive antics like a comic strip disseminated intermittently on the street. The Pineapple, as his first name implies, has no boundaries, no sense of right and wrong, and no limits. He is the ego-maniacal rock star in a fun house mirror, a dark celebration of the libido at all costs, a logo run amok in a world of consumer pleasures. After seeing a flyer and a show the only question left for the audience was, what would the pineapple do next?
For more information please contact Steven Wolf Fine Arts at 415.263.3677
or email [email protected]