press release

Steven Parrino broke many boundaries. While he brought together different disciplines and media, he also reached towards other artists. Parrino recognized the importance of the next generation and tirelessly supported the work of artists he believed in by collaborating with them, trading with them, writing about them, or inviting them to participate in exhibitions he curated himself. Bastard Creature gathers together this community of artists and presents works by those who continue to be inspired by Parrino and his spirit.

The starting points for Bastard Creature are two exhibitions curated by Steven Parrino himself: Bastard Kids of Drella, part 9 (Le Consortium, Dijon, 1999) and The Return of the Creature (Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis, Bregenz, 2003). Echoing the artist’s own openness, the Palais de Tokyo has invited the directors of both institutions to join the Palais de Tokyo’s curatorial team in the preparation of Bastard Creature.

Bracketing the exhibition is the iconic aura of Andy Warhol and the reckless glamour of Michael Lavine. Contained within Warhol's photographic self-portrait and Lavine's photograph of a kneeling Courtney Love are ritual, violence, sex, pop culture, outlaw, celebrity, high art, and the creation of new ideals out of the ruins of a rotten culture. Trash collides with aesthetics, and each are revealed as necessary equals to the other.

This collapsing of opposites – beautiful/ugly, transparent/opaque, black/colourful – informs the work of Jutta Koether, a frequent collaborator with Parrino and his music project Electrophilia. In this exhibition, she presents a black painting and mixed media assemblage with glass chimes. Also a collaborator, Amy Granat creates 16mm films and installations that investigate the pure and basic qualities of light and sound. She made her Chemical Scratch Films (2003) by chemically altering the film strip material itself. Choosing to show recent work, Amy O’Neill presents the newest addition to her "Parade Float Graveyard" series, a sculptural installation of a wagon wheel rising out of a spinning platform. Mai-Thu Perret pursues her own storyline of undermined heroism by pairing desire with emptiness, and her sculptures give us slick monolithic surfaces in gold or black.

More direct references to pop culture and to its fallen heroes exist in works by Chuck Nanney, Blair Thurman, Banks Violette, and Richard Kern. Nanney’s painting folds pop into minimalism, Thurman’s neon references race cars, and Violette’s sculpture proposes a face-off between two black platforms and a collision of fluorescent lights, as if a musical moment reached beyond its breaking point. Traces of extreme acts reappear more explicitly in the film by Richard Kern, who captures the infamous underground culture of New York's Lower East Side.

The graphic qualities of an image stripped to its bare essence that appear in the work of Steven Parrino are also important to the work of Gardar Eide Einarsson, who covers a wall with a duplicated image of a chain-linked fence by using spray-paint and a stencil. At a smaller scale, Richard Aldrich strips painting to its minimal graphic potential. The curved patterns and lines in Elizabeth Valdez’s drawing were made for her Black Noise book, from an upcoming series of comic books created in Parrino’s memory produced by the artists John Armleder, Mai-Thu Perret, and Amy Granat. The photocopied pages by Cinema Zero, a nomadic collective that presents film/music/performance events, are cut-up collages that also serve as the event announcements. The collaborative video FTW (for S.P) was made in early 2005.

Like their friend and collaborator Steven Parrino, these artists pursue the extreme edges of culture and believe in the radical potential of art. Richard Aldrich, Cinema Zero, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Amy Granat, Richad Kern, Jutta Koether, Michael Lavine, Chuck Nanney, Amy O'Neill, Mai-Thu Perret, Blair Thurman, Elizabeth Valdez, Banks Violette, Andy Warhol.

only in german

Bastard Creature

mit Richard Aldrich, Cinema Zero , Gardar Eide Einarsson, Amy Granat, Richad Kern, Jutta Koether, Michael Lavine, Chuck Nanney, Amy O´Neill, Mai-Thu Perret, Blair Thurman, Elizabeth Valdez, Banks Violette, Andy Warhol