Not for the Timid
My Father's Party is Busted! – a no-holds-barred political exhibition – runs through January 20 at BC Space Gallery in Laguna Beach. View our Web-exclusive photos!
Jeffrey Frisch shreds money in a kitchen meat grinder, showing how meaningless money has become. Sandra Jones Campbell comments on Hurricane Katrina and government involvement in The Suits Remain High and Dry. Three men hang stranded from a pole, as Campbell portrays how federal agents kept themselves out of harm’s way during the hurricane’s devastation. Lynn Victoria creates Okey Dokey, a patchwork quilt of her photocopied hand in a variety of gestures expressing acquiescence to rage through sign language.
Fraught with confrontational ideas, the exhibition My Father’s Party is Busted! presents how individual citizens – in this case, artists – express how large government and business organizations affect lives. Where else could you see this high-voltage show but at BC Space Gallery? Be forewarned, the exhibition is not for the timid.
The show began in October to capture the pre-election hoopla, had its reception on Election Day, and ends on Inauguration Day, January 20. A conceptual no-holds-barred exhibition, it is conceived with frankness and daring, a composite of disparate opinions of 40-plus artists, and over 70 works of art. The work represents comments on the “busted” state of American political, social, economic, and philosophical attitudes, without leaning towards any particular party, person or ideology. Everything is fair game when artists confront the “badly broken systems” under which society functions. Passions continue to mount as new art is generated during the course of the show.
Curator Mark Chamberlain conceived the exhibition when elections and candidates were not yet decided. Having a reputation for nearly 36 years of being a voice in the wilderness, Chamberlain sent out invitations to artists who, as concerned citizens, were asked to express through art their thoughts on the state of the nation. No topic was sacred. It turns out, now that the election is over, that the seemingly unanticipated financial meltdown and its domino effect in many sectors of the national and world economy – including the art world – confirms the droll exhibition theme containing words with a double meaning such as “father,” “party” and “busted.”
Ron English makes a provocative statement about our political progress by folding history into one portrait of Barack Obama/Abraham Lincoln. Pat Sparkuhl’s mixed media assemblage of Boy-Toy is meticulously thought out and makes a powerful anti-war statement. One of the piercing anti-war paintings (and there are several) is created by Bradford Salamon, who renders a portrait of three males in which one young man salutes as he proudly wears a Coast Guard uniform. A small boy nearby spoofs his posture while his shadow forms the shape of an ominous gun. A third boy, in the background with a body of water behind him, seems to be on a swing, but he has nothing to hold on to.
21st Century Freedom is a sculpture by Hayley Blatte, who deals with patriotism (an American-flag-turned-jumpsuit) and how it can be as blinding (masking the face and body) as what we purport to defend ourselves against.
Busted is a synergistic experience that weaves together concerns of many, not just the artistic community, and confirms that one of the roles of art is to bring issues to public attention in the most visual and potent way. Busted proves to be a timely and pertinent exhibition, and one that no other art venue thought to mount.
WHAT My Father's Party is Busted!
WHERE BC Space Gallery, 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-1880; bcspace.com
WHEN Through January 20