Saturday, November 20, 2010

Afrodisiac dominates party

Party Crashers: Comic Book Culture Invades the Art World opened last night at the Arlington Arts Center.  The second half of this exhibit will open at Artisphere in Rosslyn on December 11.  Everybody knows that serious, sophisticated persons don't look at comic books.  They read graphic novels.  But both the learned and the innocent will enjoy sneaking into Party Crashers.  It's a wonderful exhibit that spans great creative comic space.  You can follow these comics up close, in detail, as if you were sitting down with the wall in your lap, and you can enjoy them from an art-gallery distance.  This exhibition also includes several video animations.

Don't miss Dash Shaw's video animation, Unclothed Man in the 35'th Century AD.  It's beautifully drawn and lyrical, and addresses fundamental technological trends and anxieties.  Deb Sokolow's webs of signs are more elaborate than the handwritten, newspaper-delivery conspiracy notes that used to appear occasionally about local newspaper boxes.  No exhibit of contemporary art is truly complete without a Powerpoint presentation.  This exhibit includes two Powerpoint presentations by Andrei Molotiu.  They are among the most informative and interesting Powerpoint presentations that I have ever seen.

The center of the party, however, unquestionably is AfrodisiacJim Rugg and his partner Brian Maruca have created an astonishingly transgressive challenge to heterosexist and racist stereotypes.  They unsettle taboo zones of normative discourse about black masculinity and parody the hegemonic cultural construction of an Afro-centric identity.  This work should be required study for cultural reconstruction.  It's really funny.

Party Crashers: Comic Book Culture Invades the Art World is at the Arlington Arts Center through Jan. 16, 2011.  The exhibit component at Artisphere will be open through Feb. 13, 2011.

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