Gothic gore

Hamza Walker, AB’88, associate curator of the Renaissance Society, told the audience at the Sunday opening of All the Pretty Corpses that the Goth-inspired exhibit was appropriate for a campus where an older version of “Goth looms large.” The show brought together eight artists whose work shares elements of “mysticism, anger, mourning, horror, aggression, angst, apocalypse, and the post-human,” according to the museum’s Web site. A dropped ceiling stained with beet juice and coffee hovered over the stream of visitors entering the gallery.

During the artists’ talk the man responsible for the ceiling, Jay Heikes, was reluctant to discuss his work. “I don’t know how much I want to talk about Pat’s tumor,” he said, referring to his inspiration for the piece—his friend’s struggle with a brain tumor. The artist did divulge that the purple beet juice to him represented “being beaten” and the coffee suggested the “grit” of daily life. Heikes was ambiguous about his place in the dark exhibition because while the work “refers to a bloody, traumatic incident,” he said, “I like to think of it as a daydreaming, contemplative” piece.

Other artists were more comfortable with their position in the show. Tony Tasset constructed a stone grotto filled with melting, blood-colored candles as a memorial to “some generic tragedy,” in response to what seem to him “like very dark times.”

All the Pretty Corpses runs through December 23 and features the work of Jeremy Blake, Ellen Cantor, John Espinosa, Heikes, Kacy Maddux, Sterling Ruby, Steven Shearer, and Tasset.

Meredith Meyer, ’06

grotto by grotto by tony tasset_b.jpg amorphous law 2_thumb.jpg girl and 150 2_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): Grotto by Tony Tasset; Amorphous Law by Sterling Ruby; 150% by John Espinosa.

November 18, 2005