Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sailing to Byzantium + New Orleans Mountain Project


William Butler Yeats' SAILING TO BYZANTIUM poem is a whimsical rumination on old age infused with many mythic references. This Good Children expo extrapolates those themes into a meditation on human frailty, tackiness, weird aquariums, beginnings, ends and erratic interludes. MULTIPLE LINES OF IDYLLE COLORS, right, by Bryan Guidry and Philippe Landry is a leaning tower of kitsch, a totem of bric-a-brac shelves bristling with ceramic saints, elves, busts of Elvis, Jesus, you name it, all accompanied by an endless sound loop distilled from a minimal snippet of Wagner's SIEGFRIED IDYLL. The result is a kind of aesthetic mulch, a thrift-store Götterdämmerung. Show curator Adrian Price's mixed media mural extends the "love in the ruins" theme with passionate scenes on the floor of a domestic interior devolving into a mass media afterimage of pop-cultural memory. Minka Stoyanova's FLEE, left, depicts a unicorn-headed majorette bursting through concrete walls, a gesture of mythic renewal in the form of an equine Wonder Woman.  Jeremy Pelt's COOL WATER, below, is a cologne-scented aquarium radiating a deadly golden glow inspired by Yeats' expressed desire to be reincarnated as a hammered gold bauble. Colorfully related works by Jessica Bizer, Rachel Jones and Sophie Lvoff round out this eloquently improbable expo.


     The adjacent NEW ORLEANS MOUNTAIN PROJECT explores what mountains might mean to New Orleans. Curated by Serbo-Croatian Nola resident Srdjan Loncar, it features works such as Icelandic artist Bjarki Bragason's anti-mountain manifesto, a horizontal line bounded by two poems--a notion echoed by local artist Robert Tannen's assertion that mountains should rise horizontally in the linear form of levees, or expansively in the inverted form of lakes and swamps. Baltimore artist Alyssa Dennis proposes a mountain of organic gardens for those who lack access to veggies, while Gordon Matta Clark-inspired Chilean artist Sebastian Preece espouses a "geography of books" composed of ossified tomes such as the one seen in the above print, to elevate the imagination and penetrate the limits of knowledge. Now to get the Army Corps or Engineers to pay for it... ~Bookhardt

SAILING TO BYZANTIUM: Group Show Inspired by William Butler Yeats
NEW ORLEANS MOUNTAIN PROJECT: Group Show Inspired by Mountains
Through Oct. 3
Good Children Gallery, 4037 St. Claude Ave., 616-7427; www.goodchildrengallery.com