May 14, 2008 · 43 Comments
Post by Jennifer Zarro
The party is over and everyone must go. There’s a morning-after feeling to the Jack Sloss and Alex Da Corte show on view at the Fleisher Ollman Gallery. Piled-up presents are partially opened, colored globe lights on the floor wear happy and sad faces – they’re reminiscent of deflating balloons on the day after a party.
A folding table set up for a drinking game holds plastic cups filled not with beer but liquid glitter. Jack Sloss’s photo collages of Olde English 800 advertisements hang nearby. And a new American flag by Da Corte signals a party atmosphere with its salmon-pink color and its fringe, the likes of which a Supreme might have worn on stage. But the flag can also be read as tattered, weathered, and anarchistic; it has lacy holes in it, and it droops on its flag pole.
Da Corte’s black snake (Accessory, Gothic) (not shown) twirls in a virtine nearby, another reference to the evil in the garden. Looking closely at the snake, viewers can see their own reflection in the mirrored base and may have to come to terms with their desires for this or other sparkly objects, especially considering that what we’re looking at is a rattle snake, and rattle snakes can kill.
Advertisements have a strong presence in the exhibition. Da Corte’s Screen is an almost familiar billboard, but the words and pictures are jumbled up and confusing; what are we supposed to want? His Picture Texts are sandwich boards with just the floating heads of young, good-looking men seemingly taken from fashion ads. Presented in this familiar advertising format, they become even more confusing – are these heads trying to sell us something, or to say that advertising is really just empty and meaningless?
We were lucky to be there on a day when Da Corte was in the gallery. He said he goes in regularly to change the sign near the entrance to the show.
On my first visit the sign read, “Everyone Must Go.” It was fitting for “the party’s over” vibe. On this day, the sign read, “The end is not the end,” and that seemed fitting, too. The artist noted that the words on the sign may have to do with salvation, and that sometimes the little things we continue to do everyday – raise the American flag, turn on the lights and the TV, give presents – we do in spite of (maybe because of?) all the bad things that happen.
P.S. – A big congratulations to Da Corte who will be going to Yale in the fall to pursue an MFA! And, Fleisher Ollman Gallery has extended the Love Explosion exhibition until May 24.
–Independent art historian Jennifer Zarro, earned her PhD from Rutgers last spring. Her most recent piece for artblog was on When Photography and Printmaking Collide at the Free Library. See her Q&A with Alex Da Corte in Art Matters.