Erich Bollmann closing at Commonwealth and Council
Rube’s Apprentice, Erich Bollmann’s exhibition, is closing this Saturday at Commonwealth and Council. As is custom for C&C at the closing Bollmann will present a publication. If ephemera excite (excites?) you as much as me then I’ll expect to see you there.
Rube: one who, or that which, is a hayseed, a bumpkin, or a mark. (link dead, see below 5/18/12)
Apprentice: what each of us is until we get our chops.
I’m just clearing up some terms here – Bollmann’s show is very much about language and our relationship with words. “Cooties,” “My Stevedore,” “Outhouse,” are samples of words handwritten in the rough plaster book sculptures that are installed on the floor of the front room. “Cooties” as a word makes me blush a little, remembering being a little kid. “My Stevedore,” My Antonia, “My X” is, or was a favored construct for popular intellectuals to title their written considerations of the character of one or another public persons or ideals. “Stevedore” is a pretty neat sounding word (and having a stevedore might be hot too) – where on earth does it come from?
“Outhouse” completely stopped me when I read the word inside the softly colored open book, turned a little to the wall on the floor at C&C. This is a weird year for coming out. A creepy lay organization of the Catholic Church, a weak-willed museum, David Wojnarowicz, and a lot of bile are combining this year to make the term outhouse feel variously like a safe house and like a closet. Neither has pretty resonances with me. Or perhaps like a camp to which that “lay organization” would like to remove the queer portion of our culture.
The plaster books Bollmann crafted during his two week residency. Beyond the charming idea of a book filled living room in a gracious 1930’s LA apartment (with a brick street, palm trees and a green lawn outside) there isn’t any sense of site specificity – but there is a distinctly fun mental image of the artist in this room, there must have been plastic sheeting everywhere on the floor, and he’s wrestling and splashing with plaster.
The drawings included in the exhibition reinforce the artist’s play with language – they’re framed – a nice touch that underlines their importance and visually matches the substance of the plaster sculptures on the floor.
By the way, the aforementioned publication will contain text by Kyle Tidd, who is Assistant Editor at East of Borneo.
***A general word about hyperlinks in Notes on Looking. Words and phrases are beautiful, meaningful and fun. Some have embedded themselves deeply in my soul as my experiences piled up. A similar cadence, like a similar tune, will bring to my mind the exact moment a phrase entered my life. “One who, or that which…” is a phrase I distinctly recall from when I was 12 and watched on the three o’clock movie Natalie Wood playing Gypsy Rose Lee. (Yes indeed, I was a fag even then.) Something glamourous and yet didactic happens when Wood mouths those words defining the term ‘ecdysiast,’ and then she follows with “…sheds its skin. In the common parlance, a stripper. But I’m not a stripper. At these prices I’m an ecdysiast!”
None of this has anything to do with Bollmann’s show. It does have to do with the human mind. As I look (as we look) my mind takes happy little leaps into magic, or something closely related. This doesn’t distract my focus on the matter at hand, rather it enhances my focus. For example, partly because of my memory jolt of being a twelve year old boy watching a beautiful movie star I’m able to recall pretty distinctly what I saw, heard and felt at Erich Bollmann’s exhibition.
Let your mind stray.
Reference quote which replaces dead link:
And now, ladies and gentlemen
Minsky’s world famous Burlesque
takes great pride and pleasure
in presenting in her personal flesh the one and only,
the now and forever,
Miss Gypsy Rose Lee and our salute to the Garden of Eden!
Pick up your apples girls and back to the trees!
Bon soir, monsieur et monsieur!
Je m’appelle Gypsy Rose Lee
Et je suis dans le jardin de ma mere et Minksy.
And that concludes my entire performance in French,
I’ve been too busy learning Greek
Some men accused me of being an ecdysiast
Do you know what that means? Do you?
Do you? Oh, you do!
Don’t be embarrassed… I like men without hair!
Don’t worry fellas I know you’re up there and up there
you know what ecdysiast means.
An ecdysiast is one who or that which
Sheds its skin. In vulgar parlance: a stripper
But I’m not a stripper!
At these prices I’m an ecdysiast!
And if you’re real good
I’ll make you feel good
I want your spirit to climb
Let me entertain you
And well have a real good time, yes, sir!
A real good time!