9.02.10 Teen TV Residue Gallery Opening: RECAP

9.02.10:Teen TV Residue opening at the Distillery Gallery in South Boston last week.  There was a good turn out, despite the near 100 degree weather, moving day for much of Boston, and the fact that this was my first post college/non-cafe gallery show….and of course, the usual last minute chaos.  In the hindsight, the show could have been bigger, better, gone more smoothly etc…but the bottom line is that it happened, and folks enjoyed it…..and it was good.

Among many things, including strong pieces, strong artists, and a strong turn out for the show, one of the things I am most proud of about the 9.02.10 show is that it started from something very personal and became thing universal.  The unfortunate part is I realized the unversitility late in the game, thus. lst minute.  Still, we delivered….from  Jessica Pollak’s shadobowboxes of the men of Buffy,

The Men of Buffy: Oz, Angel, Spike-by Jessica Pollak (courtesy the DistilleryGallery Flickr

to Mary Fay Holt‘s Virginity Lost Specimens..

"Last" By Mary Fay Holt. (Includes Alex P. Keaton, Spike Nelson, Brenda Walsh, Buffy Summers, & Blair Waldorf)

Independently we also had a Jordan Catalano (“Hunky Dreamboat”) by Tony Bevilacqua and an Angela Chase (..can like, narrate”) by Cassandra long.  Robert daVies tied it all together by painting the thought/speech bubbles

"My So Called Life Installation" by Tony Bevilacqua, Robert daVies, & Cassandra Long

We also had a collaborative project amongst studio 11, spearheaded by Nick Ward & Mary Fay Holt…an interactive teen bedroom.  You could write notes to your high school crushes, or to anyone, rummage through this fictional teens things, or just hang out and remember what it was like.

"Becca loves Zach" -Studio 11 Colloboration

Across from the teen room, Kelsey Jarboe’s piece “Makeup Takedown” contained a video loop of YouTube videos of female teens dressing up their straight male friends in drag.  Participants were allowed to sit down, and dress themselves up too

"Makeup Takedown" by Kelsey Jarboe

And of course…there was my 90210 pieces, Some crying Brendas, a stoic Branda, and of course…Donna Martin Graduates.

Brenda,Brandon,Brenda-Elizabeth Grammaticas

Brenda Walsh is Crying!-Elizabeth Grammaticas

Donna Martin Graduates!-Elizabeth Grammaticas

and of course, let’s not forget…our very own Peach Pit

Peach Pit at the Distillery

All and all, we put together an enjoyable, fun show….thank you everyone who participated…thank you everyone who came, and thank you everyone who’s interest we caught for future shows.  For a first show, I say we did a good job folks. More on the after party and studio 11 events to come….

The Sad Girls of Pop!

I have a tendency to want to ignore images/media/people that are culturally over-saturated.  I am aware this can be just as bad as liking something just because everyone else does.  I am working on this problem, to the point where I end up challenging myself to like something, or least understand whether my aversion is legitimate or not…and what my reasons for said aversion actually are.  Such previous high-class examples are The Girls Next Door, Hannah Montana, and honestly, Beverly Hills 90210. Plus, life is much easier when you can find interest in the things you see everywhere.  This is also part of my reason for loving John Waters so much.  His life’s work is an extreme version of this; he takes the lowest of society and finds passion and interest within.   Ridiculous as this may be, I find this to be a valuable life s

Due to the aforementioned reasons, for a while I could not pay much attention to Pop Art.  I’d fine it aesthetically pleasing, but after seeing endless Warhol prints on just about anything, it becomes hard to look at it objectively.  I avoided an in depth look at pop art for some time, but my current bodies of work have forced me to change this stance.

Warhol's Marilyns

There’s the blatantly obvious, Marilyn Monroe.  Warhol’s portraits of Monroe, along with Jackie Kennedy, Judy Garland, and other tragic golden ladies,  allude to the pain and identification with the individuals, but with a firm level of removal.  It’s not exactly easy to put oneself in the same category as Marilyn Monroe etc, despite the humanity of these icons.  They are still icons, unattainable but we are still able to project our own associations.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Crying Girls series is drawn from distressed females in comics books,  thus making the pain of these both anonymous and universal.  Lichtenstein paints these modified comic panel pieces as individual images, and by taking out of the context he changes the meaning.  We are given very select clues on how and why these ladies are distressed.   Richard Prince demonstrated this point with his artist book, pairing up Lichtenstein’s girls with pulp-lady novel covers, completely redirecting the interpretation of said images even more.

Lichtenstein Crying Girl

With my Beverly Hills, 90210/Teen Trauma body of work, I am finding myself straddled between these two ends of the spectrum.  Brenda Walsh is a fictional tv character, yet the actress and the show are fairly recognizable.  At least, to the general public more identifiable than the specific ladies of Lichtenstein, but no where as epically recognizable as Jackie Kennedy or Marilyn Monroe. While most of can identify with some Monroean tragedy, distraught comic beautiful blonds, but it is Brenda Walsh that we see ourselves in.  She’s imperfect, she’s loved, she’s hated.  We can relive her ups and downs, break-ups and betrayals…..and she cries enough about life for all of us.   Brenda Walsh’s pain is our modern middle ground.

Brenda Walsh

(Also, just for fun. Let’s look at Britney Spears shaving her head again. )

Crying like…a Teenager.

Brenda Walsh is Crying, Once More! Mixed Media. 7/2010

Crying affects all of our lives.   Whether its around you, or it’s your own self…you can’t ignore the cry.  Sure, you can repress it.  Sure, you can fake it, but most of the time..you can’t control it.  Unless of course you are an actor, and more importantly, an actor in a teen TV show.  In that case, you are a pro.

I don’t think anyone cries more than the characters in teen TV soaps/dramas.  Whether their lives are actually dramatic (Beverly Hills, 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) or they just teen-perspective dramatic (My So-Called Life)…there’s always the drama…and with the drama, come the tears.  Teens are in transitions with everything, and crying certainly is one of them.  They are no longer ‘children’ that are somewhat oblivious to crying etiquette, and not quite adults who are aware of the social role of crying, and have that structure embedded in their systems.

There is a freedom in crying as a teen.  You know more about what is worth crying about.  You also know more about how crying affects other people, you know how to work it, and you have the freedom to get away with  not caring when its ‘inappropriate’.  You are still, ‘just a kid’, but you have those pesky ‘adult’ (seeming) problems.   You are totally free to cry over being stood up on a date like half your family was murdered.  That’s power.    Teen crying is epic, so no wonder TV producers love it so damn much.

Ode to awesome teen tv crying take 1 : Beverly Hills 90210

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