Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Boadwee and Rock at QNA (SF)

Note: A clarification is added at the end of the posting.

Note: This exhibit has been extended to 5/25/07.

At least since Courbet, every art era has had its bad boys, and Keith Boadwee wants people to know he’s still one of them. A dozen years ago, he famously made paintings by squirting egg tempera out of his ass (while documenting the process in photos and videos). Perhaps that was his attack on the poo-etry of Abstract Expressionism. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Boadwee now teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute, but he hasn't gone soft.

Boadwee’s latest works are on view in a crowded installation at Queen’s Nails Annex (QNA). He delivers the gay goods: buttholes and erect dicks. One large painting trumpets the anal focus (detail image at the top).

In one of the large photos, Boadwee sports an erection while sitting in a chair, wearing a Supertramp T-shirt. He could be posing for a gay dating website. He's that guy who wears eyeglasses with his boner (image above).

In another large photo, Boadwee replaces his face with his spread-open ass (image above). As psychology, the image is loaded any way you read it. I should note a well-known precedent using a woman's body: Magritte’s 1934 painting “The Rape” (image below).

Boadwee’s imagery is sexual but in a way that seems confrontational—“don’t tread on me.” Even if you laugh (as people generally do), you notice the aggression.

Viewers with a wide knowledge of performance art and gay culture may not find any revelations in Boadwee’s presentation at QNA, but the work can be appreciated for its sharp visuals, abrasive humor, and the individual personality that Boadwee projects. He is good at pulling together an image whose tone is more complex that it may first appear.

Sharing the QNA show and its body themes is artist Patrick Rock. In his installation in the second room, he takes a jokey approach that does not go far from square one. One exception was a video in which the camera focused closely on (I think) the nozzle of a whoopee cushion as air was expelled from it. (Photo above.) The minimalist abstraction of the image was comically undone by the sound. (He could have called it "The Last Breath of Minimalism.")

Added note: Unfortunately, I did not see the final room of this show, which contained drawings and collages by Rock. (The gallery needed to close before I made it that far.) Judging from installation shots published in another blog, some of this work looks interesting.


Anonymous said...

Bob, Bob, Bob...

Patrick Rock's work at QNA was far from square one. I almost puked when I walked into that sugary sweet pink and white room. Beautiful. Your tastes and subjective comments obviously run towards conservative contemporary trends. A safe position Bob.

Bob your teeth are too white, your choice in eye wear too square, and too expensive for anybody to take you too seriously.

But you did post the Boadwee cock shot.

Post your resume.

Get busy on that website.

You are an attorney aren't you?

A piano tuner?

A failed artist?


Jason Rhoades

Bob said...

I will have to think about why the previous comment is signed with the name of a Los Angeles artist who died prematurely in 2006.

To the writer of this message: Have you read the whole blog? Or are you basing your judgment about my "tastes" simply on my reaction to the Rock installation?

I wish my teeth were too white.

Don't get me started on eyeware. Most styles are too big or too small, and the prices are a scam.
Fortunately I tend to wear the same eyeglasses (and clothes) for years. That's my safe position.

Attorney? No.
Piano tuner?! No. (But amusing.)
Failed artist? No.

In return, I'll ask you a question: why such hostility?

Anonymous said...

Hostility comes from confusion and the search for self-actualization through confrontation or struggle. Its the old Hegelian master-slave relationship, enacted again for the umpteenth time within the safe confines of socially acceptable media; i.e. the annonomoys web blog. Obviously, dude tries to exert himself over another. More struggle. Keep on keepen' on.

I think Boadw. and Rock are trying their best but resorting to sensationalism (but both very accomplished artists in their own right). Easy thing to do. Its not wrong, just gives a good entry point. The question then is, is there substance to keep in your mind after getting beyond the initial splash. I'll let you know if there is somethig that sticks around.