Last night I checked out the Whippersnappers exhibit at Connor Contemporary. This one will be a little tough to review, only because I usually take a camera and my notebook with me so I can remember everything, but I had neither so I'm going to have construct this from my memory, which sucks balls.
The exhibit featured a number of "young, bright, culturally astute artists" (from their press release), who showed paintings, videos, collages, drawings, and a couple of notebooks. The first pieces I looked at were the collages by Michael Magnan, which were described as "futuristic yet rustic." I guess they were kind of interesting, but they didn't really do anything for me. A few of them incorporated some kind of techno-looking object/robot placed on top of a 1970's quality photo of a forest. It all struck me as very Star Wars-esque: like the kind of things people half a century ago thought looked so 21st century (where we now have flying cars and personal rocketships, of course), all square-ish, shiny metal with bulky joints, placed in a dull, almost bleak, setting. One of the collages had gray carousel horses turning pink by a laser beam (with the accompanying pink confetti spraying around), pasted on, if I recall correctly, another dull greenish outdoor scene. Uh..huh. Like I said, they were kind of neat to look at, but there wasn't a lot of punch there.
The musical accompaniment for the evening was provided by Fatima Hoang and his videos of him performing air guitar (he's the reigning U.S. champion, no less) to Paradise City and a few other songs. The videos were pretty cool, and boy is he enthusiastic, but I'm more interested in how someone becomes the U.S. Air Guitar champion - and where exactly does this competition take place? I'd buy tickets. And bring a bowl.
Then there was the painting by - correct me if I'm wrong - Maki Maruyama. I heard it called "pop anime," which is a pretty good description - young Asian faces in a swirl of bright colors. I don't really get the anime thing, which always seemed like some strange subculture of acne-covered nerds who discuss the latest comic/cartoon/whatever over their wireless mics during a role playing game, but just don't have the balls to buy real porn. Sorry if that offends anyone. Okay, not really. That being said, I actually liked the painting. The faces were slightly cartoony, but they also had a surprisingly haunting quality about them that was striking against the vibrant background.
The stand-outs of the show were Zach Storm's "fascinatingly idiosyncratic drawings of invented novel covers." Most of them were on posterboard material, but some were drawn right on the wall. This is where I wish I'd taken notes, because they were fantastic and often hilarious. Some of the satirical titles made you laugh at the ridiculous things we take too seriously or try to force meaning into: "Your Weight and What It Means." Others were tongue-in-cheek rewrites of sci-fi or young adult book titles. I wish I could remember more, but there were thirty-two, so they're all jumbling in my head now. Go see the show if only for Storm's work.
The last thing I caught were Matthew Sutton's two notebooks, filled with an entire inventory of a CVS, written from memory. Just...awesome. Everything from the Gatorade flavors to the greeting card categories ("to dad" "from all of us"), but you've got to wonder if he really did it all from memory (and maybe that's the point?). The press release says he studies mathematical theory, so maybe he's one of those crazy photographic-memory people and if so, my hat's off to him. This coming from the girl who had to walk down ten flights of stairs on Thursday because I was all the way into the stairwell (to go up one floor) by the time I realized I forgot my access key, which I usually keep strapped to my arm to prevent just this sort of thing from happening on a daily basis.
That's all I was able to see - there were a few more pieces, including, I do believe, a video of a cat - but that place was jam packed last night. My recommendation: brave the winter rain and go check it out.