Welcome to Coolsville, Population You
Remember When Peter KozlowskiThere's something so satisfyingly ephemeral about a one-night art show. Even when they're not perpetrated by illegal squatters rolling about in the scent of urine, they're still so DIY underground that you, by virtue of knowing where to find them, are pretty much guaranteed to wind up hipster-by-association.
They're flash mob. They even (and sure, this is stretching it) remind me of those protesters at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia who got arrested for using cell phones on the streets—the cell phones clearly indicated conspiracy.
The men of Out of the Streets (OOTS) are busy this week shinying up their Fullerton industrial space for their monthly one-night party. It's a little bitty space, much more modest than those sprawling Spurgeon Building dos that seemed so decadent and grubby and fresh till The Orange County Register wrote about it and ended up shutting the shindigs down. It's just two little rooms. But there's a DJ! And hundreds of shiny young folks! And beer and wine if you're of age! And last time, they had cake!
It's usually impossible to advance a one-nighter, rife as they are with works that were finished, senior-term-paper-style, the night before or the morning of. This makes the guys who organize them sad. All that work. All that gallery painting and canvas painting and label making, and nobody gets to find out about it beforehand. (This, consequently, ups the cool factor; see first paragraph and any bar that doesn't have a sign outside.)
But this time, showing ridiculous amounts of initiative, the guys installed a full two weeks early, all for little old us.
The results are mostly good, even though recent parties have been stronger (their guest-artist show, especially, was rocking). Individual paintings and photos are lush or provocative or silly or all three. Still, there's a thinness on the walls—one that may be rectified with under-the-wire contributions from a few hold-outs.
Mostly, they feel young. I don't mean in the manner of students seeing hoary clichs and thinking they're new. I don't mean callow. I mean rough and funny and a little bit rude. C. Finley provides a painting, its main figures outlined in blotchy pencil, of two nude dudes in a gazebo by a lily pond. It's straightforward and dorky and entirely hilarious.
Peter Kozlowski gives a couple of Nagelesque hot chicks. One is a diptych; below, a slutty supermodel in a snakeskin leotard and '70s Cheryl Ladd sunglasses sits on her ass, legs up like Brooke Shields and Father Guido Sarducci used to do. Above hovers what looks like an Indian chief la The Doors. Kozlowski says it was intended as an old woman looking back on her hot young self. I don't see it, but I'm really bad at that cocktail-napkin illusion where you're supposed to see the crone.
Next to Kozlowski's work is a Pop painting of a crowd of airline pilots rolling prairie dogs into a blanket. There's a Becca quality to the blue, flat background and the figures on it in a nice dull black with authoritative strokes for their suit sleeves, while the way they're clustered is almost the poster for Reservoir Dogs. The artist wasn't there when I saw the painting, and everybody stood around, offering their guesses. Squirrels? Baby piglets? I'm almost positive they're prairie dogs. But pilots? Wha?
There are a few other works—not that many, as the show is a bit light—but they tend toward delightful. Jocelyn Schneider Foye has a textured piece that seems made out of knobby Silly Putty, reminiscent of noses, cervixes and lumpy condoms, all covered in red dots like cupcake glitter. And Jason Byal offers a nicely interactive crawlspace, presumably claustrophobic like Anne Frank's attic (it wasn't yet ready when I visited), covered with love murals from the Berlin Wall.
As important as the works, though, will be the party. And knowing the time, date and place, you've had all your work done for you.
OOTS, 701 S. State College Blvd., Ste. 707I, Fullerton, (714) 447-4068; www.ootsarts.org. Opening, with live music and DJ, Sat., 7 p.m.-midnight. $5 donation at the door; additional viewing Tues., 6-10 p.m. Donation suggested.
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