SGCI Friday Night Highlights, Part II

Cherokee Street has been the de facto artist-run capital of St. Louis for the past several years, hosting an energetic and ever-changing roster of DIY galleries, co-ops, studio spaces and community activism. On Friday, March 18th, the street remade itself once again for the SGCI Conference, filling in some of the vacancies and coordinating (finally!) all of the projects on one evening. Hopefully, this bodes well for the future of the street and of alternative practice in the region. Below are some of the highlights from the night. See the first part of this feature discussing All Along Press, Good Citizen, Cameron Fuller and Travis Russell.

Swoon, a Jeffrey Dietch-approved street artist and activist, made a subtle appearance at the corner of Cherokee and Nebraska on a sloping, vacant storefront that has housed many aspirations and few successes. The trashy windows on the front of the former convenience store framed Swoon’s sketched kids which fit in well with Cherokee’s surrounding Hispanic district with a mixture of reserve and curiosity. It was a quiet, non-didactic comment in a neighborhood with plenty of socio-economic tensions.

Stencil World, organized by Peat Wollaeger, spilled out of Gallery AM as 20+ international stencil artists created a patchwork mural on what appeared to be a former theater facade. The work included could have done more in the way of a substantive site-specific approach, but overall, it added a welcome vibrancy to the proceedings.

Snowflake stood out in the chaos of the evening with the expertly executed, Lesley Mutchler-curated exhibition w/ w/ o rds. Though organized in conjunction with the SGCI Conference, the exhibition benefited from a bit of distance from the action and Snowflake’s consistent refusal to overpopulate their gallery. The show focused on “printed works on paper…that focus on our temporal use of language in combination with the printed image” and featured work from Abra Ancliffe, Tate Foley, Jimmy Luu, Sonnenzimmer and Emily Sullivan.  Luu’s The Office of Printed Ephemera dominated the space, situating analog renderings of digital junk on a stark black background. Acting as a failed (but funny) catalog of tweets, status updates, and Craigslist ads, the series succinctly captured the undefined space between printed and digital ephemera. Abra Ancliffe’s American to Icelandic to American Translations pried apart language and image through screenshots of iconic American television shows with (mis)translations and stuttering meanings.

Something about Leeza Meksin’s House Coat for Cosign Projects summed up the event perfectly for me. I ended the night pulling up to the two-story, ubiquitous St. Louis brick home wrapped with sparkling white and gold spandex. The glamour, somewhat sleek, somewhat sleazy, masked the normalcy beneath but also imagined the possibility inherent in the everyday. SGCI surprised a lot of people with its spectacles and celebrations, jarring our imaginations in the streets we are so accustomed to. House Coat upped the ante, positing an ambition that may take another conference to top.


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