What should I be doing instead of this?


By · September 26th, 2008 ·


as well as visual art shows. Matt Coors’ “Omamori for Publico” is a large glassy digital ink-jet print of a Japanese shrine. Next to the photograph hangs an omamori — a kind of prayer pouch. A visitor must believe there is a handwritten prayer inside it. An unexpected sweetness lingers here; Coors, along with his brother Paul, founded Publico, and there is a clear sense he mourns the loss of it, despite the fact that its loss was a choice.

Paul Coors’ “Single Takes (Since You’ve Been Gone)” is a group of small ink drawings. Graceful and droopy like Hans Bellmer without the shock-factor, the drawings seem mournful too — nostalgic doodles full of memory. The Weston also propped up more Publicoevoking work by Paul Coors — the corrugated walls from Publico and the light fixture.

Putting these objects into a gallery show gives a great sense of how much work went into the seemingly bare-bones space on Clay Street.

“Last Summer,” an installation of five sleeping bags by artist Matthew Waldbillig, is perhaps the most interesting work in the exhibition. The sleeping bags take Robert Rauschenberg’s famous “Bed” into a new direction. For “Bed,” Rauschenberg took his actual bed, flipped it, covered it in paint and hung it on the wall. In doing this, he obliterated the line between public and private spaces. Waldbillig does the same thing, only it’s a group of beds here — a collective. It calls to mind sleepovers and campsites and staying up late to talk about all the thoughts you have. It brings back childhood.

Publico’s collaborators did it all in their old space, and they’re doing it all again in Since You’ve Been Gone. Artists Britni Bicknaver, Commander, the Coors brothers, Beth Graves, Russell Ihrig, Lamb, Waldbillig and Dana Ward came together to create a new, completely unsalable mixed media sculpture.

The work, “Collapsible Kiosk,” takes up most of the space on the Weston’s upper floor. It looks like a bird — let’s stay away from any phoenix references here, please — or a festival float, only smarter and more complicated. Pennants of printed Publico propaganda hang like prayer flags from a sculptural form that is actually, the artists state, a “portable, reconfigurable performance kiosk with PA system” and speakers.
It seemed a forlorn object during my visit — quiet and unmanned — but the Publico crew won’t let anything stay silent for too long. ©



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