Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gisleson at Antenna + Meow Wolf at The Front

Maybe it was the July supermoon, but this month's St. Claude gallery openings were very dreamlike. Those who braved the pervasive somnambulism of the night encountered low budget vision quests like Susan Gisleson's Jung Hotel installation at Antenna. Less about Nola's long gone Jung Hotel than Carl Jung's "collective unconscious," the show explores how the dreaming mind tends to conflate personal quirks with cultural memory. Here the walls are lined with books with peep show portals revealing lurid dream scenes while, on the floor, a 1960s jukebox features freakishly unfamiliar song titles like I Found a Glass Eye in the Dirt attributed to familiar names like Del Reeves. An array of hanging medallions like souvenir drink coasters encased in clear plastic reprises iconic Americana in the form of vintage fashions and Indian chiefs, antique road maps and anatomy class skeletons, 1920s weight lifters and soft porn starlets, all slowly sashaying in the gentle breezes of the HVAC vent. It's just another night at the Jung Hotel where an antique suitcase filled with realistically slimy plastic frogs at the entrance prepares us for the for what lies in store.

The Santa Fe, New Mexico, art collective Meow Wolf's Moving Still installation at the Front greets us with an Iron Claw machine filled with plastic dinosaurs. The first two galleries are dedicated to a history of the collective, and the rear galleries feature a splendidly meandering environment like a sculptural recreation of a peyote vision formulated by Werner Herzog and Alejandro Jodorowsky. But a reflexive search for Klaus Kinski mainly yields dry ice fog arising from a display case memorial to a deceased cross dresser, and an intricately cavernous maze of psychedelically hued lattice constructions, above studded with visionary beasts from the otherworldly labyrinths that appear only to those who journey by the light of the supermoon. ~Bookhardt

The Jung Hotel: Installation by Susan Gisleson, Through August 3, Antenna Gallery, 3718 Saint Claude Ave., 250-7975; Moving Still: Mixed Media Installation by the Meow Wolf artists collective, Through Aug. 3, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980.