"Culture Vulture" at Jack the Pelican Presents

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Diana Puntar Dual Disturbances 2004 plywood, plastic aluminum laminates 47" x 40" x 60" large detail of installation


But we found much more than Gae Savannah's newest creature extravaganza, a slightly-larger-than-life-size sculpture, "Paroxysm," at Jack the Pelican Presents this month.

As for the at least slightly-quaint title of the show, "Culture Vulture," the press release explains it simply:

In 1967, Carl Andre said, "Art is what we do. Culture is what is done to us." "Culture Vulture" show explores notion that art and culture are not the same thing.

"Culture Vulture" originated in diverse sources: a sixties article in MAD Magazine on the rent-a-beatnik craze; tourists at Hopi villages, buying up all the cheap roadside jewelry like it were the last on earth and gawking at rain dances; revelers at night clubs; late night internet junkies downloading Paris Hilton. The search for culture, or its most immediate facsimile, is a search for identity. Culture is an imposition, or even a virus, that infects us with the need to fill in the blanks.

The crowds at the opening reception for this very interesting group show curated by David Gibson were almost overwhelming, so a proper look at the goodies was very difficult, and for the same reason decent pictures were almost out of the question.

I love group shows; they often open up totally new worlds to the curious. But they also present some difficulties. Aside from the occasional frustrations caused by a look at interesting work which under the circumstances can only be a tease, the problem with installations which can display only a single piece by a new artist is the difficulty the format presents for any kind of fair judgment. In this case however I can already stand by my impressions of the pieces I saw that night by Savannah, Diana Puntar, Karen Heagle, Russell Nachman, Katherine Daniels, Amie Cunningham and Emmanuelle Gauthier (list in formation). Ooops, is it unfair that I am already at least slightly familiar with the work of five of these seven artists? Or am I just demonstrating my point about the challenge of group shows?

Gotta go back, if I can, and do some sleuthing.


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Karen Heagle Holly 2003-2005 oil on panel 53" x 61" large detail


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Emmanuelle Gauthier Courtesans 1996 C-print mounted on plexiglas 30" x 40" large detail

Der Jim and Barry,

When you are in Providence be sure to go to the Providence Art Club (11 Thomas Street) to see the latest show. If you are interested in having lunch there, I would be glad to host it.

Den