VALEDICTION IN WHITE

The following piece is a fictional response to the performative exhibition Perfect Sunset (there’s nothing sad about it) by Kristen Cochran at Front/Space. The show centered around retirement parties and examined the idea of endings.

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The cake was exactly the cake you’d expect. It tasted like every other cake you’ve ever had. Smooth white frosting in a thin layer over chocolate cake that was once fluffy. You taste the plastic fork in equal parts with the cake. Even so, it’s gone too quickly. You hold the empty paper plate and plastic forks like props. Your hands have an occupation. Very sensible.

Though Al is hanging up his shirt for the final time, though all that’s left are seams and cuffs, he buttons the tattered cloth, squares the shoulders onto the hanger before turning away. Ready for delicate retirement. Starched blues traded for a night in a tux, traded for a year of Bermuda shorts, traded for a blanket of earth, deep.

Al greets his guests, his handshake crisp with arrogance. He walks the way a cowboy would walk, knees never quite bending, swinging each leg out the side before bringing it forward, a meandering kind of step that demands space, a right to its own pace.

Excepting the bolo tie, the son is the embodiment of aspirational neutrality. He is here to tell the family story, the story of the acquisition of cars and homes, footnoted by changing heights of children. A white balloon looms and bobs over the corner of every projected slide, every image refracted through its white body. There is mic feedback. Exuberant laughter surrounds each image and the son’s self-effacing commentary, relieved by happy exhales in the dark intermission of slide changes.

We see a baby with mouth agape, mother’s lips a crescent, her smile forever at half mast. We see presents underneath a Christmas tree, a flood spreading across tan carpet, drowning the frame, the brother a cropped sidenote. We see a wedding party arranged tidily next to a server’s tray of sliced cake. We see three women, stuffing a turkey in a golden ratio, arms at Michelangelo angles. We see the story of the women’s movement as told by the purchase of mom’s new orange Camaro. We see a family clustered on the edge of the blank concrete patio of a shit-brown house, white clothes blinding the exposure.

This is farewell, after all: farewell to sales calls, farewell to coming home late, farewell to ladder rungs, farewell to profit, farewell to value.

Farewell to meaning, farewell to life entire, farewell farewell fare well.

Let us toast the new car, the borrowed boat, the new house, the vacation.

The wife grabs her gold glittered top hat and hikes up her starched white skirt, revealing legs shaped by white hose. Her head cocked, smiling into some imagined sunset, she begins tapping. Her tasteful white shoes tap out an unexpected rhythm. Her skin shimmers. The crowd is in upheaval; a reaction equal to a walrus leaping out of the water and performing Swan Lake, to a baby sticky with placenta reciting Shakespeare’s verse, to your mother cooking an edible meatloaf.

Let us toast the new car, the next house, the bigger lawn, another vacation, another new car. Let us toast the sun glinting off the windshield, never setting.

The woman in the blue suit embroidered with glass beads bats her empty eyes: “Why thank you so much for this lovely dinner. I just wish you and Hilda all the best!” She blinks. “I wish you all the happiness.” A beat, her eyes a vertiginous void. “Bon voyage!”

There is a man so sturdy that he could wear a pink shirt in 1988. He gestures across the room as his vowels are compressed and his words sprawled out. “Al said I made too much money,” his laugh like a cough. Thick hands cast out heavy words. “You taught me that…you taught me expense reports are creative writing.”

From the corner of the room, he says twice what a pleasure it was to have made Al’s acquaintance. At night, in his California King bed, watching ceiling shadows swell and recede, he would wonder if he had a voice. Or, if, instead, every sound was swallowed by the cosmos, inconsequential, if he himself would fade away, into the quiet dark, into a place where his house his children his fears his California King bed never existed at all.

WINNING IS NOT A SOMETIME THING; IT’S AN ALL THE TIME THING. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR SECOND PLACE.

In all the years Al worked at the window blinds company, his secretary never read the Vince Lombardi speech on the pegboard.

IT IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN AN AMERICAN ZEAL TO BE FIRST IN ANYTHING WE DO, AND TO WIN, AND TO WIN, AND TO WIN.

She recites now as tears fall on her broad yellow lapels.

I BELIEVE IN GOD AND I BELIEVE IN HUMAN DECENCY.

“That’s Al,” she says, “It sure is.” A voice encourages the secretary with the lapels to finish.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT ANY MAN’S FINEST HOUR—HIS GREATEST FULFILLMENT TO ALL HE HOLDS DEAR—IS THAT MOMENT WHEN HE WAS WORKED HIS HEART OUT IN A GOOD CAUSE AND LIES EXHAUSTED ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE—VICTORIOUS.

Al’s red tie is violent against the hotel ballroom’s palette of grey and grey. He has the nonchalance of the entitled who’ve never asked questions, of one who carries blind trust in bounty. He describes his blessings: “Benito Mussolini did not get a dinner. Fidel Castro won’t get a dinner. Daniel Ortega didn’t get a dinner. But I, I have gotten a dinner I’ll not soon forget.” What color are his eyes? They look like something to be strung on a necklace.

He never did buy the boat he wanted. All he can think about now is the sea wind on his face. No windows to measure, no warranties to push, no telephone calls, no children, no earth to feel beneath his feet, or to be buried in.

A fog descends from the sky like a dog loosed from its chain; swooping through the open patio door, masking the clouds of white hair on women’s heads, embracing the white balloons as lost cousins, floating the white tablecloths, disappearing the guests into their final honeymoons.

You dreamt you had a body. And you wore a white-sequined shoulder-padded blouse. You flew over the water while the Indiana Jones theme song played. “There’s nothing sad about it,” you whispered.




Informal Studio Visit: Anna Van Gheem’s Ongoing Discovery

Maddie Murphy met with Anna Van Gheem — a 2017 BFA candidate in the Kansas City Art Institute’s Fiber department to discuss her playful and larger-than-life collection  from the 2016 West 18th Street Fashion Show, Wild Summer, and her current thesis work.

First hearing about the annual Kansas City fashion event from a classmate, Anna Van Gheem remarked, “I thought, [the show] is outside of school, I can reach a larger audience. I recommend that anyone do it, it’s such a huge platform. I sort of had to be a secretary for myself. It took so much time planning. I had never made enough items for a collection before.  To make five really coherent looks was difficult at first. I probably changed my mind at least ten times for each look. Sitting in the [KCAI Fiber] gallery, staring at and playing with different combinations. I asked anyone and everyone walking by what they thought, and those outside perspectives helped.”

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Anna Van Gheem’s Studio. Image courtesy of the artist.

Perusing her Instagram account, then glancing at Van Gheem’s studio space amidst a pile of sparkly fabric swatches, she embodies an enchanting and refined sense of style. Her past work hangs neatly on a rack, while materials and more tests were found piled on her studio desk, overflowing the long-arm quilting machine. Mood boards and scraps of inspiration collaged the wall behind. Van Gheem’s work is a more extreme version of her philosophy, a juxtaposition of silly and satirical but still seriously invested in and responding to current fashion.

“[Aesthetically] I have been always been inspired by Valentino. Last year, Marry Me Jimmy Paul. was huge for me, these super gaudy Dutch designers… this year it’s more Prada, Miu Miu specifically, because it is super quirky and girly.”

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Van Gheem design. Image courtesy Ryan Swartzlander 

Her process of making is pretty unique. “I have to be working on twenty things at once with ‘nests’ everywhere so I can see it every day. A mood board is the most important thing in my practice. It’s a subconscious thing, those colors and influences are burned into my brain and find their way into my work.“

In terms of material choices Van Gheem gravitates towards the hardest; enjoying the challenge of mastering vinyl and pleather. She believes the point of her undergraduate education is to foster experimentation, noting she doesn’t take herself too seriously but is ready to build a business.

“Last semester pushed me to think about who my client was and to be more relatable. So much was in my head that was hard to express with words. It was a challenge to be more inclusive, and not just make my work a personal diary of my feelings.”

I asked if she could change anything about her work, what would it be? She thought for a moment, and replied, “Craft is the biggest struggle. Patience is a huge thing that I struggle with, taking the time to do things, versus being impulsive.”

When asked what advice she has for Kansas City artists interested in pursuing fashion, and she replied, “There are lot of independent artists here interested in fashion, so Kansas City is unique in that way. Art is well supported in this community, so a lot of local fashion has a basis in fine art. That being said, don’t be afraid to move on and expand your horizons, if you can be more successful somewhere else.”

Van Gheem has begun working on her senior show, which is planned for April. She is planning sizes, focusing on equality and diversity of models, as well as meeting with collaborators, including photographers, graphic designers, accessory designers, and videographers. “I want to work with as many people as I can, make it a huge thing,” She expressed excitedly, “I have my own little bubble, but there are people out there with bigger bubbles.”

       




Why Are We Just Standing Here? Dean Levin at Bill Brady KC.

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Bill Brady KC is a brightly lit white cube that looks like it was taken right from New York and tucked into Kansas City’s West Bottoms. This spatial frame allows for a close inspection of monumental artworks. Dean Levin’s exhibition features human-sized rectangular steel cages with offset rows filling the space not already taken by the gallery’s two main columns. Following those on the stark white walls are black semi-circular paintings hung at the eyeline which don’t demand that you get closer. His paint lies flat and dead along the stretched canvas. The work echos minimalism in a way that is underwhelming. Viewers stand like at a middle school dance between the walls of the austere space and the work that increased the cold presence.

Almost formulaic in nature, the work stays rooted in being as reductive as possible to avoid engaging with any sort of cultural narrative. Levin’s exhibition will be photographed beautifully and look great as an ad in ArtForum, and it seems as though that is as far as it needs to go. Apolitical work is incredibly appealing to the Patrick Bateman-esque art collectors of the world. Just like a logo-coated handbag, it takes pride in the surface level.  Levin’s work is emotionally detached and will continue to find its place on the opposite side of the wall from the audience.




BOIBOY: “A Place Called Home” / KC ART NEWS



BOIBOY recently debuted his first solo show at the UNDERGROUND
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space in the Leedy-Voulkos Building. Featuring a video installation, large cigarettes and pills, and paintings, his exhibition creates an illusionary home with indications of neo-Freudian oral fixation. BOIBOY speaks to KC ART NEWS about his inspiration and thoughts on his first solo. Video shot and edited on an iPhone by Mark Allen.




Peregrine Honig – KC ART NEWS

Peregrine generic zoloft Honig’s latest debut, generic Zoloft “Unicorn,” features interactive oil paintings, photography, flags, and 3D sculpture that all challenge both our digital and sexual identities. I sat Lexapro down with Peregrine to interview her about the show.

-Mark Allen KC ART NEWS




KC ART NEWS: MADELINE GALLUCCI

Madeline Gallucci’s recent solo exhibition at

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Plug Projects in the West Bottoms is appropriately titled, “Confectionary.” These saccharine sweet paintings and prints fill the white walls of Plug’s new local exhibition space. The show is open until August 23rd. More information can be found at PlugProjects.com or MadelineGallucci.com

Have you seen “Confectionary” at PlugProjects? Be sure to voice your opinion using our Facebook commentary feature.

-Mark Allen, KC ART NEWS




West 18th Street Fashion Show – KC ART NEWS

This year’s West zoloft reviews 18th Street Fashion Show, titled, “Ceremonial Summer,” was the biggest and most exciting show yet. Every year, the block between Baltimore and Wyandotte is closed off. Thousands of people filled the streets, the seats, and the roofs of buildings to catch a glimpse of taking clomid and evening primrose oil the withdrawal symptoms of cymbalta show.

Mark Allen interviews Gigi Harris, junior intern for Birdies, and Danielle Meister, co-owner of Birdies and a show producer, to see what they thought. Watch the video below for full coverage of the event.

 




Archive Collective – KC ART NEWS

 

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“Homebodies” is the latest group exhibition http://clomidgeneric-online24.com/uroxatral-pills-generic.php by Archive Collective, a group of artists in Kansas City who are driven to support the photographic arts in the Midwest. This exhibition features photo documentation of performance art, constructed as an homage to Bill Owen’s artistic documentation of early American Suburbia.

 

On view at Red Lady Gallery in the West Bottoms until June 20th. To accutane dosage set an appointment visit, e-mail info@archivecollective.com or visiting ARCHIVECOLLECTIVE.COM

-MARK ALLEN, KC ART NEWS




Alt Reviews: Ethan Cook at Bill Brady KC

Is doge a perfect medium for visceral first reactions to contemporary art? A longer, more in-depth look at this show and others in the context of the West Bottoms to come in the next few days. For now, here’s our informal alt reviews:

 

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tweets of micro criticism overheard last night

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informal review 101:

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appropriating the doge meme for art criticism

 

 

Did you have a quick reation to any of the shows Friday night? Send your Tweets, Instagrams, memes, and more to editor@informalityblog.com or send it via our submit page.

 

 




Informality + Subterranean Gallery Collaborate with Alt Lecture KC

Informality and Subterranean Gallery project payday are hosting this month’s Alt Lecture KC. If you haven’t already heard of direct online payday lenders it,

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Alt. Lecture KC pairs one local maker/aesthetic producer with someone from outside the KC metro in order to cultivate a creative conversation that moves beyond state lines.

This month’s lecture will be hosted at Subterranean Gallery and covered live http://paydayloansonlinecaus.com/ on Informality’s Instagram feed @informalityblog and our Twitter feed also @informalityblog

 

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The local featured lecturer will be Christopher Cook, payday 2 cheats who owns Brainroot Light and Sound, LLC a production house specializing as a in promotional web videos. Cook also currently works on payday a web series called Your Fellow Americans, which is http://onlinepaydayloansusca.com a documentary that discusses race, immigration, and the American Dream. He is also working on Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, a feature-length documentary examining the true cost of college and Halls of Heroes, a documentary that is examines hero worship in athletics. His feature length documentary, We Are Superman is a film about racial division and reconciliation in Kansas City, was completed in 2013. Cook’s work is influenced by the understanding that actions are primarily motivated by values, and that in order to engage and transform communities, payday loans one must first understand the values to which that community holds. He believes that education and dialogue are the keys to mutual prosperity, and he just plain doesn’t understand sports.

 

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Robert Chamberlin is Alt. Lecture KC’s visitor, a conceptual artist who lives and works in Boston, MA. payday loans springfield mo He received his MFA from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Art. Using a multidisciplinary approach combining photo, performance, and ceramics he expresses ideas of sociopolitical issues like surveillance, sexuality, and domesticity. While often being the focus of his work, he explores these ideas and promotes conversation through a personal lens.

 

Join us for the lecture tomorrow, 7pm at Subterranean Gallery 4124 Warwick Blvd. APT B Kansas City, MO 64111

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Find out even more and RSVP to the Facebook event here!