We’re back from the holiday break, and we’ve got some great articles lined up. Remember to stop by Friday afternoon for our take on the best places to see art this weekend. Here’s a recap of two Thanksgiving-themed art shows from the Saturday before the holiday. Each approached their themes with different levels of ironic non-engagement:
At MINT Gallery, Squanto (interviewed here) held “Fun Art Time.” Musical performances by Ile Tambor (Afro-Caribbean rhythms, song, and dance) and Noot d’Noot (electro-funk with jazz and big band accents) served as a backdrop for Squanto’s rainbow-streaked collages and found-object shrines.
Though Squanto’s pen name and chosen theme suggested a focus on Native Americans, the event (especially the music) was really more about the Native as a global identity, rather than about any specific people of North America. Perhaps, as Squanto’s hippy-themed work reminds us, “native” can become a state of mind.
(Consider how little actual experience Squanto or any Georgian has with Native Americans. When attempting to recreate a culture(s) surrounded by so much misinformation, you’re working within a fairly broad margin of error.)
Across town from MINT, WonderRoot held their own Thanksgiving show. This one was another hybrid of visual art and music, with additions supplied by Emily Kempf‘s imagination and a gaggle of her friends, including drawing boards set up around Wonderroot’s basement performance space, impromptu music circles upstairs, new art on all the walls, and the screening of Michael Luketan’s documentary, Ghosts In the Flophouse.
Kempf’s show was similar to Squanto’s in execution: handmade “Indian headdresses,” live music which tended towards the “world music” side of the spectrum, and an expectation that a good deal of the night’s art would be provided by the show’s attendees.
From what I can tell, Emily was a lot more successful in that third category than Squanto—there’s something about being in an art gallery (even one painted in crazy pastels and filled with colored lights) that makes people inclined to stand motionless with their chin in one hand rather than actually dancing.