APOCALYPSO FACTO: NEW WORKS BY ROBBIE CONAL
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2006
Track 16 Gallery is pleased to present APOCALYPSO FACTO: New works by Robbie Conal. The exhibition runs from Thursday, October 26, through Saturday, November 18, with an opening reception on Thursday, October 26, from 7 to 10 P.M.
Though Conal is best known for his bitingly satirical depictions of U.S. political figures of note, accompanied by punning critical text, his most recent work strips them to the bone, leaving his art wordless, if not speechless. Conal has consistently confronted us with his political fervor, his unrelenting desire to express and dissent, and his biting humor—the qualities that we expect when we see his latest posters plastered on unsuspecting artifacts like mailboxes, underpasses, and construction site walls. Playful, but “dead” serious, these recent works, show us a different side of Conal’s image database.
In the tradition of Hans Holbein the Younger’s, “Dance of Death” series of etchings (referencing the Black Plague) and Jose Guadalupe Posada’s, “Calaveras”, Conal has come up with a macabre metaphor for the mindset of the crusader/purveyors of the so-called, “Permanent War on Terror” and what he calls, “its ideological twin-spin-sister, Operation Worldwide Democracy (whether the World wants it or not).” Members of the Bush Administration gleefully rattle their own and each other’s bones, dancing the “APOCALYPSO FACTO”: reveling in their messianic hubris.
But what does baseball have to do with it?
A life-long baseball fan (who knew?), Conal has also taken his scalpel to “The American Pastime,” itself. Positing its present state as a measure of the pervasiveness of the pressure our cultural economy puts on us, as Conal says, “ to win by any means available.” While exhibiting his appreciation for the physical skill and effort of great ballplayers, Conal’s grinning glitter-skulled, skeleton pitchers deliver his version of “chin music” with a strenuous élan. Perhaps warning us that even our “play” has been made vulnerable to corruption.
Conal is an Adjunct Professor of Painting & Drawing at the University of Southern California‘s Roski School of Fine Arts. He was a participant in the www.droppingknowledge.org “Table of Free Voices” event in East Berlin on Sept. 9th, 2006. His postering raids have been featured in numerous publications, including Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, as well as CBS ‘s This Morning, and Charlie Rose. He was the subject of the 1992 documentary Post No Bills. He has also written two books, Art Attack: The Midnight Politics Of A Guerrilla Artist and Artburn, a collection of his work published in the alternative newspaper L.A. Weekly. He has been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, The City of Los Angeles (“COLA” grant), and the Getty Trust. For more information visit our website at archive.track16.com. Shown concurrently with Forgotten Faces: Portraits without Pedigree or Your Picture Here: Pictures from Purgatory, Selections from the Roger Handy Collection, curated by Jeffrey Vallance.