Friday, December 01, 2006

Scott MacLeod Collection 4: Fearlessness & Camaraderie

Chantal DeFelice

This is my latest acquisition. I sort of had to have it as soon as I saw it on the wall at auto3321 gallery in Oakland. It just made me so happy. It reminded me of 1983-84, hanging out at the 17th & Mission flat with Lisa Kim, Andrea Menefee, Mary O'Neal & Trish Pashby, a great group of women who had tremendous camaraderie & fearlessness at that time. I was about 28 & they were all about 23. Back then the music was Pop-O-Pies, Au Pairs, Flipper, Delta 5, Theater of Hate, Faith No More, Slits, Marine Girls, Young Marble Giants, The Cure, stuff like that. There are few things more invigorating than hanging out with young, brave, intelligent women. It was a very fun time & this drawing brought it all back to me in an instant. Plus it was cheap enough I could actually afford it.
Mads Lynnerup. Everyone was supposed to take a pair of cardboard flipflops in their size from Mads' show at SF Art Commission, so I did. They are more comfortable than you would think. But I wouldn't wear them in the rain.

I bought this photo of a beachside Santa at one of the annual art auctions at 21 Grand. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the artist. If anyone knows who made this, let me know & I'll add the proper credit here. I like this photo for many reasons, but I bought it with the clear intention of sending it to my friends in the secret society of B.K.S. It is currently hanging on the wall of Franta Skala's studio in Prague.

I'm including a couple of t-shirt designs in this exhibition. I basically haven't worn t-shirts with images or text on them for ten years or so, with very few exceptions. But it's hard to go through life without collecting a few t-shirts with designs on them. This one here is one of the very few I would consider wearing in public - unfortunately I'd have to lose 25 pounds & shrink two sizes in order to wear it with any dignity - odd as that word may sound in this context.

Let me see if I can remember the story that Franta Skala told me about this shirt. At some point B.K.S. was "challenged" or "insulted" somehow by another group of male Czech artists - younger men, reckless men, just callow upstarts really. There was a great temptation to simply ignore them, but the young bucks continued to bray from time to time & it became clear that continued silence on B.K.S.'s part might lead some to think they were weak.

I don't remember the important details about the significance of the imagery, the metaphoric cloud surrounding this situation. All I remember is that B.K.S. produced only a very few of these t-shirts & either wore them themselves to some public event, or presented them as presents to their younger rivals. Another stunning triumph for B.K.S. They gave me one because I am cooler than ice.

If Franta will remind me of the correct story, I'll revise it here.
Michael Manning. This is a t-shirt that I did wear many times. It too is a bit snug & I hadn't worn it for several years until I last wore it at the opening of Visual Aid At 16 show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in April 2005. That was one hot opening. Hey Willpower played & weren't they great!? They made me feel like it was the late 70s again, or the late 80s or at least the mid 90s, when I bought this t-shirt off the wall at Eichelberger's. I am sorely tempted to sell or give this t-shirt to anyone who wants it enough to tell me why they have to have it.

Raegan Kelly. Even though she'd broken up with me a couple of weeks before I was leaving on a four-month performance art tour of (mostly) Eastern Europe in summer of 1990, Raegan made me this painting to wear on the back of my leather jacket. It's on chamois or ultrasuede, something like that. Here's a closeup:

Here below it is hanging by the front gate of Auschwitz, and below that I am wearing it while standing inside the ruins of the Berlin Wall:

In Moscow, a couple of guys in leather jackets asked me if I was a Hell's Angel. Of course I told them I was. This photo is by Franz John.
Franta Skala.

Franta Skala. During the course of two seperate residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts, just north of San Francisco, Franta made dozens & dozens of heads carved from sea-kelp. Pursuant to my support of his kelpicidal actions during the "Massacre at Montara Beach," Franta gave me a head of my own. It's gotten a little moldy.

Franta Skala. I first met Franta & B.K.S. in 1992 when I was a member of Parallel, a group of U.S. & Czech artists & administrators who'd gotten together to produce cultural exchanges between the two countries. In 1991 we'd brought about 25 U.S. artists to Czechoslovakia & the following year we brought I think it was 22 Czech artists to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Tijuana, Arcata & other places.

One of the Czech groups was B.K.S. The advance word on them was that they were "dark" and "apocalyptic" so I was expecting, I don't know, GWAR or something. I was busy ferrying people from the airport & didn't get a chance to meet them there. I'd planned on housing two of the B.K.S. artists but they had insisted that they all must remain together 100% of the time, so someone had brought them all to my house.

When I finally made it home around midnight, I was surprised to hear an odd & mysterious sound coming from the brightly-lit kitchen at the end of the long hallway. I entered the kitchen and found four gentlemen sitting stiffly in black three-piece suits...whittling! Expecting Ozzy Osbourne, I got -what?- Amish dudes? The kitchen floor was covered in wood shavings, the table was covered with tiny intricate sculptures of cottages, femurs & graveyards. These dudes could whittle.

Anyway it's too long a story to tell here. They weren't Amish, they were . . . B.K.S. At some point, they gave me this very suggestive "rum bottle" nutcracker that Franta had carved. It's a good nutcracker & it's fun to hold.

Unknown maker. I found this painted wooden goose somewhere in some trash or some abandoned house. I like ducks & geese & I like this little guy.

Unknown maker. My parents hand-carried several sculptures back to the U.S. from Haiti when we were passing through in 1960. This was one of them. I can't remember how it came to be in my possession. All the rest are still at mom's house.
Jakub Kalousek.

Jakub Kalousek.

Jakub Kalousek.
John Chiara. John lives at Developing Environments, where I lived from about 2000-2003. John was a big fan of my varnish paintings & ended up buying several of them over the years. I could only afford one of his giant photos, this one of a fish. We finally realized that he was trying to make photos that looked like my paintings, and I was trying to make paintings like his photos - so we finally collaborated a little.

Unknown maker. When my grandmother, Margarethe Eitel Stapels, married for the second time, to Aloysius J. (Al) Petry, someone made these two 15" high doll likenesses of them in their wedding finery. I guess they must have commissioned these to be made. The clothing etc is pretty accurate in its way. They're a little freaky, which is why I like them.

Zdenek Hula. Zdenek's a sculptor & printmaker friend of mine who also runs Galerie H in Kostelec nad Cernymi Lesy, CZ.

Thomas Lowe Taylor (Anabasis). Tom's a poet, photographer & visionary living north of Portland Oregon.

Unknown maker. Just a typically bad "impressionist" painting of a French or Italian street scene that I found in the trash, but I have a fair share of respect for people who can paint like this (I probably can't do as well) and the painting does brighten up the backyard patio, so I think it has as much right as anything else to be here in the Museum.

Megan Wilson. Megan painted & freely distributed hundreds of similar signs, each one unique, for her Home project. I got one because I had recently been evicted & so was sort of a victim of gentrification. Actually I have two: one large red one is lost somewhere in my studio; this one is mounted prominently on the outside of the studio, which feels a little like home because I built it myself.