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The Zine Unbound: Kults, Werewolves, and Sarcastic Hippies
Independent Publishing Explored at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
by Sarah Hromack on Oct 21, 2005
As the second of four consecutive exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts highlighting the growing phenomenon of collaborative art making, The Zine Unbound: Kults, Werewolves, and Sarcastic Hippies is ideologically rooted in the work of three particularly sought-after publications: K48 (Brooklyn), Werewolf Express (LA), and Hot & Cold (Oakland). Artworks made by these zines' editors and contributors expand conceptually from the printed page and into the gallery, where some of the larger thematic forces shaping the contemporary art world inform these installations.
K48 editor Scott Hug shipped in a slew of arts n' crafts (works) made by 48 scouts (artists), to build a campsite tableaux gone horrifically wrong. Based on their latest issue, K48 is an Animal, Hug and company have descended en force to violate an imagined "safe zone" of sleeping bags and s'mores, defacing outdoor gear with macabre symbols of death and destruction. Admitted pass the chain-link fence that contains Camp K48, viewers traipse gingerly about the Astro turf ground designed by Hug himself, left to construct their own nightmares from the afterbirth of bric-a-brac left behind. Standouts in this motley crew include: assume vivid astro focus, Olaf Breuning, Noah Lyon, and Peter Coffin, among others.
Werewolf Express presents itself as a more straightforward gallery show, though one with a neo-gothic bent. Editor Trinie Dalton invited artists to respond to a "werewolf" theme with varied results; like K48, Werewolf Express builds on the post-apocalyptic trend that's haunted the contemporary art world for the past season or two. Featured works by David Altmejd, Sue de Beer, Aura Rosenberg, and Matt Greene confirm this observation. In Folkert de Jong's The Wolf (2005), the artist dresses a Teen Wolf mannequin in Neil Armstrong's clothes, memorializing his iconic moonwalk in injectable foam, while the hulking Yeti in Takeshi Murata's Monster Movie (2005) wades through an sea of undulating Technicolor pixels, dipping and swaying to a jilted jam band soundtrack.
A similar sense of the surreal influences several of the projects chosen by Hot & Cold editors Chris Duncan and Griffin McPartland. Are You Ready for the New Craft (2005), by San Francisco's own Crust and Dirt, is a massive paper maché bird built directly into the ceiling, where a natural skylight illuminates its interior in the daytime. A peek through bird's eye yields an internal, kaleidoscopic chaos of colored lights and other kinetic bits contained by its structure. Rebecca Miller's Lines (2005) animates the artist's geometric, pattern prone drawings over rich, neoclassical interiors to create a live-action coloring book of sorts. Duncan's own very linear, string sculpture, You/Me/I/Are/We (2005), snakes gracefully along in the gallery ceiling and into the lobby, where it greets visitors with prism-like radiance.
by Sarah Hromack on Oct 21, 2005
Sue De Beer/ Aura Rosenberg, "Lena" (2005)
View of K48 installation, various artists (2005)
Hot & Cold installation by Crust and Dirt (2005). All images courtesy Sarah Hromack/ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts