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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ugly Kids redefine aesthetics of art

    There is writing on the walls at Lulubell Toy Bodega, and the owners couldn’t be happier about it. Some of the more traditional arts patrons in the downtown area last Saturday night had more reservations.

    The opening reception for this month’s gallery show, “”Ugly Kids,”” caused quite a commotion on the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue.

    This is not your typical critics’ realm. Artists and visitors alike create an intermittent flow between the bright windows and the darkened street. They add dots of light with cell phone calls and lingering cigarettes, lit ember to end. The air is excitable, yet there’s a hardened, grating edge that can’t quite be placed until you step inside. There, the room is hot and the view is overwhelming.

    One vital goal of art is to provoke a reaction. By these parameters, the contributors to “”Ugly Kids”” are truer artists than the many whose paintings hang in stuffy museums for posterity. The work is that of a local group of reformed (and not-quite-reformed) street artists.

    Tribute to these roots shows itself in several places on the walls of the designer toy and gallery space. Patrick Foley’s three-canvas depiction of a ribeye steak, appropriately titled “”Ribeye,”” is displayed in such a way that large gaps of wall are left between each panel. The image is completed in between these gaps by thick black Sharpie lines; perhaps an unorthodox addition to a gallery showing, but in this space it seems the most natural addition.

    Jesse P. Vasquez created one of his pieces in a similar fashion. Underneath his name, detailed in old-school script, a series of half-naked girls in goth makeup play across the bottom of the wall. The rest of the exhibit pushes the envelope in the same vein. A sculpture centered around a discarded television set receives additions throughout the night, as the artists themselves add their empty beer cans and cigarette cartons to the fray. The irony here is that the self-proclaimed “”bastard children of fine art”” seem to scream for recognition and revulsion, only to then ignore it from their audience. It isn’t about the artist, or the audience; it’s about the acknowledgement that their visions are art, experience and life.

    This is a message that listless, classroom still life drawings just won’t capture; it’s the sort of message you only find in the writing on the walls.

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