| While I was waiting for the performance to start and
my turn to go on I watched some kids dressed in cheerleader uniforms
doing a routine on the walkway just up from Eyedrum, in front of the
door to the studio section. Their mothers, who were sitting under a
tent collecting money for the kids team - from absolutely no one coming
by - which was called the Black All Stars.
The boy, Dion, could tumble and did a backhandspring on the cement
sidewalk. As sort of a warm-up I showed them how to do thighstands on
The small gallery: A Show by photographer, Sean McCormick. Four faces in black frames titled "Survivors". Of what, I wondered... cancer, AIDS? Their faces were transfixing to the point you forgot they were photographs and this was an art gallery. The photogrpher said they had all come close to death through sickness and accidents.
Tom's show is enormous, not strange since it includes work from 1969 on. I had seen a lot of it over the years and recognized many pieces, including the glass bottle full of matches from the 1985 Mattress Fatory Show.
Painted and drawn over such a period of time the pictures were very different in style and subject matter, some done with heavy impasto and others, the most recent, light and almost transparent. The most impressive display of paintings was in the second gallery, more full figure paintings than I had ever seen together covering two of the walls. Every one seemed to be of someone I knew from somewhere.
Some of Tom's paintings look like game boards with squares like chess or checkerboards. In some collaborations it is clear that this is a method of giving each artist part of the space to work with. It also makes me wonder if the larger heads and faces, often on square canvases, aren't like symbols for the chess pieces and thus players in a larger game. If the small square paintings are the pawns maybe the full-length figures are the kings and queens.
The performance was the high point, resting like a temple on the mountain of paintings, drawings and political cartoons, or maybe like a house on a hill overlooking Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan, Tom's place of origin. While Tom played and sang his own composotions with his band we watched a seemingly endless slide show of drawings, both abstract and figurative and scenes of cities, towns and nature. Although not always in synch (or even meant to be) with the lyrics, the pictures and the songs began to blend together in a kind of modern opera, with Eyedrum as its scene. I can hardly say how good this all was.
Artists notably present: Lisa Tuttle, Marcia Cohen (now having her own show at MOCA), Fereydoon Family and Ruth Laxson. Through August 8.
TF note: Steve participated in the performance, joining the band onstage during one of the songs, becoming a motley, disoriented character assisted poorly by a walker, stumbling into the spotlight barely coherent but soon transcending that character to dance to the music and to his own music, disrobing gradually to the beat and executing on the walker a completely nude sustained handstand, to the surprize, perhaps shock, of the audience but certainly to their great delight as they burst into applause.
We had to re-enact since we didn't get shots at the reception.