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“Teeth and Consequence”

Dennis Cooper, M. Page Greene, Christopher Russell, Heidi Schwegler, sweaterqueens

Organized by Christopher Russell and Bobbi Woods

Opening reception:  Sunday July 15, 3-5 PM

July 15 - September 13 

We are available by appointment please contact info@privateplaces.us to schedule.

2400 NE Holladay Street Portland OR 97232


 

I give the name violence to a boldness lying idle and hankering for danger. It can be seen in a look, a walk, a smile, and it’s in you that it stirs. It unnerves you. This violence is a calm that disturbs you. — Jean Genet

La violence is a raw expression of humanity, directed by psychological cues that one scarcely understands, an emotion fraught with teeth and consequence. Genet’s relationships were complicated, encompassing and destructive, yet within this minefield he possessed a profound self-awareness. La violence is the flawed humanity of the person, the sum total of compassion and arrogance, generosity and brutality, the capacity to elevate as well as devastate. This mess of emotion has everything to do with how and whom we accept into our lives. La violence stands against the childish simplicity of political platitudes that has come to populate suburban lawn signs and gallery walls. La violence is grounded in a reality of weakness, failing and personal profundity; it stands distinct from the kitsch notion of love.

Genet’s intensity is especially difficult to understand against social media’s encompassing world of empty symbolism. Language develops at such a rate that words enter wide usage only to disappear in a few years, if not months. This speed has defined the rate at which culture moves and evolves. Centuries-long struggles enter political discussion only to have their participants made into caricatures—piteous by the left and ridiculous by the right; not venerated for their humanity, but reduced to a slogan, a cause trimmed to fit an empty phrase, a cliche adorned in the patina of political resistance. That emptiness makes struggle and marginalization co-optable, absorbed into the disposable cycles of fashion. It’s no accident that within a year of Donald Trump’s election, after “love wins” became a national rallying cry, that Gucci began selling “Love is Blind” merchandise. Raf Simons and Fendi also introduced garish declarations of “Love” while Commes Des Garçons produced a line of heart emblazoned clothing. The movement for so-called safe spaces echoes this appropriation of agency, positing marginalized people as incapable of navigating a world that has, ironically, left them with much thicker skin than their self-appointed champions.

This exhibition considers Genet, Sartre’s patron saint of existentialism, as a partial antidote to a polarized, yet increasingly hollow political awareness. When you make a decision, you make it for the entire world. This was Sartre’s idea for a secularized ethic: embrace the golden rule while discarding the vast network of loopholes embedded within the gilded bureaucracy of religion. It proposed a path away from Postwar European depression, and might work to dissuade us of a peculiar fetishism that offers political pleasure by infantilizing the marginalized other while ignoring one’s own violence.  

 

“Teeth and Consequence” has been  organized by Christopher Russell and Bobbi Woods.

 

 

Poet, novelist, and short story writer Dennis Cooper was born in Pasadena, California. He grew up in Southern California and was educated at Pasadena City College and Pitzer College. Cooper’s early influences include French avant-garde poetry and novels and the films of Robert Bresson. In his work, he engages the limits of the body, and of speech, in response to the pressure of desire. In a 2011 Paris Review interview with Ira Silverberg, Cooper stated, “I’m as interested by what sex can’t give you as by what it can. I don’t see lust as a dumbing-down process. Most people fear confusion, but I think confusion is the truth and I seek it out. … My goal is to try to articulate what my characters wish to express during sex but can’t and to depict the way language is compromised by sex, as realistically as I can.” His poetry collections include The Dream Police: Selected Poems 1969-1993 (1995) and The Weaklings (2008). He is the author of numerous books of prose, including the novels Frisk (1991, one of five novels making up the George Miles Cycle), The Sluts (2005), and The Marbled Swarm (2011); the short story collections Wrong (1992) and Ugly Man (2009); the nonfiction volumes All Ears: Criticism, Essays, and Obituaries (1999) and Smothered in Hugs: Essays, Interviews, Feedback, and Obituaries (2010); and the collaborative projects Dennis: Story-Song (2006, with Don Waters and various artists) and Jerk/Through Their Tears (2011, with Gisele Vienne, Peter Rehberg, and Jonathan Capdevielle). In 1976, Cooper founded Little Caesar Magazine and in 1978, Little Caesar Press. From 1979 to 1983, he served as director of programming for the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice Beach, California. He has served as the editor of the Little House on the Bowery series for Akashic Books.Cooper was the first American writer to be awarded France’s Prix Sade. He lives in Los Angeles and Paris.

 

M. Page Greene is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. Their work exploring gender slippages has been exhibited at The New Museum (New York), The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), Kunsthalle Schirn (Frankfurt), The Deste Foundation (Athens) and Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna). Solo exhibitions include Deitch Projects (New York), Stuart Shave/Modern Art (London) and Peres Projects (Los Angeles and Berlin). Their performance work has been hosted by Human Resources (Los Angeles), Los Angeles Nomadic Division, and Los Angeles Water School. Greene’s work is in numerous private collections, most notably The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) and The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles).

“I’m interested in beauty as a lure, things that maybe have a more modernist association with beauty, but lure people into these darker, contemplative places.” Christopher Russell is his own folklorist. His photographs and publications document ghost stories, animal fables, accounts of familial dissent, and tales of survival. In 2009, he produced a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). He has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Tokyo Institute of Photography, The Norton Museum, White Columns, De Appel Arts Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Russell has published numerous critical articles and has received positive notices in the Los Angeles Time, New York Times, Huffington Post, Artillery, Frieze, and ArtForum. His publications include the novel Sniper, the ‘zine Bedwetter, Budget Decadence (2nd Cannons Publications), Pattern Book (Insert Blanc Press), and Landscape (Kolapsomal Press)–which was included in Martin Parr's The Photobook: A History Volume III (Phaidon). His work is included in the collections of over thirty public institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Hammer Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

Heidi Schwegler works in the interstitial ruins of Beijing, Los Angeles, New York City and suburban America. She rescues haphazardly disused scraps from the bowels of the megalopolis: chicken bones, Big Gulps, broken signs, lost shoes, crumpled pylons, take out containers. Plastic, fiber, and bone: these materials decay but never decompose. A peerless craftsperson, she resynthesizes her sources into facsimiles with cast glass, gold, silver, wax, resulting in artwork that persists in a “living death.” Recent exhibition venues include WBG London Projects (London), Asphodel (New York), Sheldon Museum (Lincoln, NE), and the Portland Art Museum (Portland, Oregon). Schwegler is a Ford Family Fellow, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a Yaddo Artist-in-Resident. Reviews of Schwegler’s work have appeared in Art in America, Daily Serving, ArtNews, Modern Painters, and the Huffington Post. She is represented by Upfor Gallery (Portland, Oregon) and Asphodel (New York). Schwegler is the founder of the Yucca Valley Material Lab, a platform for making and thinking.

sweaterqueens’ work is a correspondence between two friends. A back and forth about their lives, place in the world and histories. Honoring all the queens who came before, some here - some not. Simultaneously glorifying and taking it lightly. Sharing codes, secrets and inside information, the complete truths and the bold faced lies. The vague, the direct, careless and calculated. Working primarily in collage, the artists take on some of the darker issues around the seriousness of AIDS and its continuing impact, while offering up a smart ass response. Borrowing imagery directly from fag rags, club flyers and vintage porn, the material is both a documentation and a historical record of their own stories and those of their friends, mixing into something at once deeply personal but widely understood.

Opening reception:  Sunday July 15, 3-5 PM

July 15 - September 13

and available by appointment contact info@privateplaces.us to schedule

2400 NE Holladay Street Portland OR 97232

“Teeth and Consequence”

Dennis Cooper, M. Page Greene, Christopher Russell, Heidi Schwegler, sweaterqueens

 

Zac's Haunted House (A Novel)
Copyright © 2015 Dennis Cooper
Published by Kiddiepunk

View and download full piece here.

 

Photography by Jason Horvath