Charity by Numbers ~ Corey Helford Gallery ~ Culver City
The art terrorism division of TACO drank for free at Charity by Numbers Saturday at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City. Auctioned off were paintings by a bunch of contemporary artists from the so-called ‘underground,’ who took hokey paint-by-numbers scenes of a United States that hasn’t existed for decades and did their best/worst to them, with proceeds going to The Alliance for Children’s Rights.
Most of the work was very, very cool, slathered in hyper-colored cutesy or vicious mini-characters, seemingly more of a message coming from the destruction/deconstruction process than through the subjects themselves.
I’m clearly no art critic and maybe a child’s charity is not the best venue to discuss U.S. military aggression, poverty, and human rights, but after nearly fifty paintings and a jam for the 3rd anniversary of toy shop Munkey King, I was left wondering if there was more to say in our contemporary art scene in this day and age, than to showcase families of fuzzy, google-eyed characters.
Every painting made us slur/shout, “this is fuckin’ cool,” but very, very few shocked, moved, or had deep meaning to me. Granted I’m an asshole for bringing my politics into a charity party, as my well-timed and well-soused harrassment of a FOX Noise reporter interviewing Gary Baseman was met with horrified crowd stares through cat-eye glasses and bad facial hair, plus the urging of a very nice promoter to can it for the memory of Chris Elliot and The Simpsons.
Still friends, there is a war on art, liberty, and sanity on our U.S. streets, and there’s no time left to waste I fear. The reaction, as opposed to everyone beating the Fox reporter to death with our shoes, makes me question how much an audience into ‘edgy’ art cares to be challenged, subverted, or dragged into action. Most of the wheatpastes and stickers on Washington Blvd. felt more fearless, confrontational, vital, and realistic in thier urgency than the carefully constructed pieces inside. This was an incredible show and great idea, and here’s hoping the Children’s Alliance made serious loot, but in other words, where are Banksy, Piss Christ, or an elephant dung-smeared Virgin when you really need them?
Gary Baseman, Fez-addict
Craig “CRAOLA” Simpkins