I am so pleased to have one of my artworks exhibited in the group show “Bound Requiem,” curated by artist Michael Mararian. Opening Saturday, December 14, 2013 at Last Rites Gallery in NY, NY, the show features artwork made from found books and explores the idea of “the death of the book” in this digital age. The book I chose to work with is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, published in 1989.
Larger image: here
This particular book found me a few times during my life – first, when I was kid at the public library. There, the neon orange cover stood out from the new releases shelf. My early-teenaged self honed in on the title since everyone in junior high threw the word “geek” around so much. The font on the cover looked digital and vaguely futuristic so I assumed the story would be about computer whizzes in love and checked it out. When I got home and read Dunn’s amazing tale, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the geeks of this story are indeed outsiders but not ’80s computer nerds. They are geeks in the carnival sense of the word: the matron of the story bites the heads off live chickens at the circus. Later, at art school I signed up for a course called “Geek Lit.” and was again pleasantly surprised. This book was part of the curriculum, where there was lively discussion of (and much inspiration to be gained from) the story’s novelty and how it applies to artists and art-making. And now, it finds me again – I was searching the city all summer hoping to stumble upon a book for this show and inspiration struck me at the Strand – there was its neon orange cover shining in the sun on the used book rack and I knew I must explore this story once more.
The painting I made incorporates pages from the first edition as well as the cover. (It’s interesting to note that the publisher Alfred Knopf allowed its famous dog logo to be altered for this edition. In the Geek Love version of the logo there are 5 legs on the dog in keeping with the book’s theme of genetic mutation and carnival freaks.) The flower motif that I added to the background of this image references an idea from the book – “Papa’s Roses” were what the story’s family called the intentionally created genetically mutated children in the book. In the copy of the book I got for this show, there was an inscription. I left it showing in the finished piece. It reads: Takes one to know one. Happy Birthday! Rob.
Anyhow, I am truly honored to be showing among the many great artists that Michael Mararian has gathered for this show. Please join us at the opening party December 14, 2013 from 7-11 pm or view the show through January 18, 2014. See the show online here: http://lastritesgallery.com/shows_boundrequiem_2013.php
14 DECEMBER 2013 – 18 JANUARY 2014
A BOOK-THEMED GROUP ART EXHIBIT CURATED BY MICHAEL MARARIAN
LAST RITES GALLERY
511 W. 33rd NYC
Tom Bagshaw, C3, Sas & Colin Christian, Luke Chueh, Chris Crites, Jason D’Aquino, Joe Decamillis, AJ Fries, Ray Geary, Naoto Hattori, Sylvia Ji, Craig LaRotonda, Scott Lickstein, Lola, Dave MacDowell, Michael Mararian, Amanda Marie, Julian Montague, Eric Richardson, Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Elisha Sarti, Mike Stilkey, David Stoupakis, Elizabeth Winnel and Genevive Zacconi