Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Senegal Oyster and the modern parlor

the surfboard as body
Neoteric Fine Art

Artist, curator and inveterate surfer Mike Solomon has redefined the hybrid at Neoteric Fine Art in Amagansett with an exhibition of collaborative and reconfigured surf boards that pay homage to the Surrealists and their history-making parlor game, the exquisite corpse. During the show, on view August 23-25, visitors can bid on one of seven surf boards. With opening bids starting at $1,000, the boards are bound to be snatched up post-haste. 

Don't miss the reception and silent auction (bidding until 10pm Saturday) on August 25 at 208 Main Street!

Proceeds go to local charities that include the wonderful Hoops for Hope, Citizens for Access Rights and The Surfrider Foundation.

The show, co-curated by gallery owner and artist (also a surfer-extraordinaire!), Scott Bluedorn, includes artists Chick Bills, Mark Wilson, Bettina Stelle, Bluedorn, Michael Halsband, Eileene Roaman, Michael Rosch, Mike Solomon, Peter Dayton, Matt Satz, Bill Komoski, Bryan Charron, Steve White, Joni Sternbach, Casey Dalene, Peter Spacek, Andrea Shapiro, Dalton Portella. Matisse Patterson, Lutha Miller and Charles Ly

When I asked Solomon for a primer on surf culture, he offered this: 

"It's a broad term covering everything from the wolf pack phenomenon -- localized gangs in which a hierarchy is established by who surfs the best or bravest -- to the surf fashion that has invaded the international imagination. It was sort of under the radar until the late 90s when some of us realized there's a large creative community of artists, writers, musicians, dancers, etc., with broad cultural aspirations."

In 2001, Solomon and the late, great, John McWhinnie co-curated Surf's UP, the first exhibition of this kind that anyone seems to remember, at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in East Hampton. 

The breakout show had a phenomenal roster of artists including Ashley Bickerton, Richard Prince, Tom Sachs, Julian Schnabel, Ken Price, Michael Halsband, Solomon and more -- all surfers -- and it generated the exhibition catalog, Surf's UP.

The exquisite corpse (Fr, cadavre exquis), of course, is a concept owed to the Surrealists, chiefly Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, Tristan Tzara and Benjamin Peret, whose intellectual parlor games included a sort of verbal collage or experimental poetry. 

Members of the group would write a phrase on paper, fold the paper so the phrase could not be seen, and then pass them to the next person for their contribution. The results:

"Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau."
(the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine

 "The Senegal oyster will eat the tricolor bread."
Breton, Jacqueline Lamba, Yves Tanguy

 The game was adapted to drawing and collage, with participants blindly producing heads, torsos and legs independent of one another. A favorite past time of Paris's cafe set in the early 20th century, the game yielded some of the century's most provocative broken synapses, in both the visual and literary worlds. But there was a more profound aspect to the ritual. The point was to identify the personality of the group -- the collective consciousness -- if you will.

It should be noted that the Surrealists left a dramatic footprint in the Hamptons, with artists Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Matta, Breton and more setting up camp here in the 1940s.

Art historian and curator, Phyllis Braff, put together the show of shows on Dada and Surrealism on the South Fork at Guild Hall in the landmark exhibition, The Surrealists and Their Friends on Eastern Long Island in Mid-Century.

Max Ernst liked to say that art is made by groups. His dictum is alive and well at Neoteric Fine Art.

No comments: