October 8, 2004

Conciencia Artistica

Art shows become a trend

By Geneva Gamez

Oh mighty the rulers of trend who never fail to save the date if only to show face.

Friday night just about eight thirty, the Gaslamp quarter is only beginning to set the mood for yet another weekend, everyone is dressed to impress ready to have a few cocktails and maybe even get some dancing in. Caved in on Third Street, just around the corner from where all the partying expectantly awaits, a hidden gallery opens its doors every two to three weeks to art enthusiasts willing to open up to the often peculiar, but very unique and modern day featured art.

An iron door that pulls upward at the front sets off a suspicious chill, a guard to my left and another to my right check my I.D. to make sure I’m old enough to drink. I get in and the gallery is pretty dead –save for the two to three people walking around checking out the artwork, a clique out in the back smoking, the DJ and the two bartenders who look like they’re ready to have a drink. I pace around the rear side of the gallery and work myself back inside. Jason Sherry, a local San Diegan and John Jodzio from New York City, dominate the narrow yet spacey walls of the alley-like gallery; their pieces are very different, Jason’s got a mix of collages and framed work while John’s got a lot bigger pieces of sketched drawings using mixed media on paper, yet ironically their themes unite them.

The comical approach towards government figures and the everlasting “humanitarian” warfare on the other side of the map calls for deep thought. These are two young artists stuck on a theme for as long as America continues to stick its nose in places it doesn’t belong. Sherry gathers Bush, Johnny Depp, and just about any random picture with a purpose to create collages with one or two liners, some in English, others in Arabic. Jodzio enjoys larger sizes and a bit more color in his pieces. His work reflects the continued exploitation of violence, the lack of respect towards each other, adolescents at their worse, women selling themselves at every street corner, and mass commercialism.

Having given the pieces their deserved time of analysis, I head back towards the back where tea lights adorn red guava trees and stones cover patches of dirt, the garden like setting is reminiscent of those you’d read about in English lit. Before I knew it, I didn’t even realize when, but people had arrived and now covered every corner of the gallery and the yard. The drinks were nearly gone; the line to get into the bathroom twirled around; the DJ had experienced a drastic change made evident in the transition from mellow tunes to the mix of hip-hop and rap. The inside of the gallery had turned into a model runway, where girls flashing the latest fashion paced back and forth, wine in hand, with little or no intention of seeing the artwork.

Popguns and Pigs Blood, A Tale of Two Cities is a compilation of work that show the crisis that people have become accustomed to living with; unfortunately, the combination of the music and the lack of interest for art that the people there showed set the mood for a faster paced ambiance that made the place look like a hang out for people willing to kill time before they made their way around the street to the clubs. Soon girls began to move around anxiously hoping to dance, not accomplishing this made it all the merrier to start conversing about all but that which defines or readily relates to art. A good ten percent of the people there had really gone for the show, the remainder to be seen as art enthusiasts who forgot to check out the artwork during their social meet and greet.

With presidential elections fast approaching, this art show offers and interestingly humorous and poignant insight into the current farce of Americanization. It’s quite shameful to recognize that within it all, people failed to capture the message or even show critical analysis of what the exhibition was really about. Nowadays, it seems like art shows are becoming more of a trend, a hang out or place to be seen at, rather than a provoking tool towards artistic consciousness.

Popguns and Pigs Blood, a Tale of Two Cities is presented by Sushi Performance and Visual Art at the Cassius King Gallery October 1st –21st. Gallery hours are Friday and Saturday from 1pm – 7pm. 435 Third Street, San Diego, CA 92101.

To contact Geneva Gamez, e-mail: Geneva_laesquina@yahoo.com

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