The MISSION B.A.G. (Bad Art Gallery) collection

Posted by sfindie May 8, 2017 690 views



The next BAD ART GALLERY show is Friday Feb 9, 8p-11p at 518 Valencia Gallery in San Francisco!!


“Awaiting the Return (Snacktime in Toledo)”Awaiting the Return (Snacktime in Toledo)

By Arlene Smokler

Materials: canvas, watercolors, Burt’s Bees lip balm

Jesus, upon his crucifixion, swore he’d return to walk the earth again. Two millennia later, an androgynous senior citizen waits patiently for the Nazarene to fulfill his promise. His/her edges are blurred to signify the grace which radiates from the most loyal of Christ’s followers. The red polka dot sofa sprouts spectral wings, symbolizing Jesus’ ascension to heaven all those years ago. And the uneaten, oversized Bugle snack treat, literally dripping with tasty goodness, represents the hunger for answers that burns inside the faithful.

– Artistologist David Cairns



“Michael Jackson/Merman” by Alejandro de Bun BunMichael Jackson:Merman
Watercolor and pencil on paper

Literally some people have viewed this work and wondered: is that Michael Jackson? And also: Where is his right arm? These and other questions have plagued scholars for years. For the exotic sea beast pop singer figure we see here is truly one of the art world’s great mysteries.

– EDW Lynch






“Too Hot to Handle (Too Cold to Hold)” by Coke Harris
Materials: oil on repurposed Froot Loops boxestoo-hot-to-handle

The seeming placidity of nature — and the tumult underneath that façade — is the primary theme of the artist’s oeuvre, best seen in this example from his “Shasta Years.” (This is a reference not to California’s Shasta Lake but to the soda brand, to which the artist had developed a frightening addiction). The bottom half of the frame depicts a rushing river, surging in a way that is almost sexual, but not quite, because rivers don’t have genitals. The upper half is a bush, or a tree; Harris could ne
ver decide, and he died penniless in a flophouse in Santa Cruz. That Shasta soda will fuck you up.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




serena-in-red“Serena in Red” by Len Johnston
Materials: oil on crushed velvet and dreams

This is a particularly striking selection from Johnston’s series depicting humans in the process of devolution. The creature pictured is half cat, half woman, but has one Minnie Mouse ear — a wry swipe at the over commercialization of anthropomorphic animals in a debased, Disneyfied art landscape. She looks curious, pensive. She hasn’t even touched her kitty grass. Her gaze says, “Come to me. Do not be afraid. Be my lover. I’m a good kitty. Good kitty. Yes.” Johnston also had kind of a thing for hedgehogs.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





midnight-violet-pumps“Midnight Violet Pumps” by Eye Candie
Materials: leather strap, synthetic sole

a friend got me these for my birthday and they are amazing! Heel is very high but very easy to walk in. The texture is some kind of fur. mine had a some hair pushed out of place but a little water and some hand brushing put back in place no problem. All in all they are true to size and snug. I don’t slide around in these at all. I am a size 7. if you have a wider foot go a half size up. the heel is really set well too, very firm and no wobbling. Great shoe from a great designer. I definitely will be getting more! [4 stars]

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian/Top Reviewer





“Democracy?” by A.R. Bixby1

Materials: oil, watercolors, questioning authority

The title is a question, but is it? Yes, it is. By literally inverting the stripes – and forsaking the stars altogether – Bixby
asks us to directly confront the myth of American exceptionalism. The faces of the oppressed are in the background, faint but clearly present, screaming for justice in an unjust system. Is true equality possible in an unequal society? That’s for you to decide. Answer: it is not.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“Midnight Wings” by Jennifer Agmata5

Materials: acrylic on unfoldable fitted sheet

One of nature’s most misunderstood creatures, the bat roams the night sky, its powerful radar guiding it toward insect sustenance. Agmata was no doubt inspired by the Himalayan crystal bat, a rare species that is completely invisible to the naked eye without special glasses for viewing. And even then, it’s pretty faint. This natural cloak of invisibility makes the bat far less susceptible to predators but much more likely to be bumped into in line at the supermarket.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“Pisces Rising” by Maggie LiouPisces Rising

Materials: fish guts, my lord, the fish guts

Liou was renowned for her ability not only to portray sea life in a colorful way but also for using only sea-based materials. This eye-catching piece also captured the attention of many noses, as Liou’s paints were made by mashing up various ocean-dwellers into sludge which was then dyed. An original approach to be sure, but also an unusual one given that this was supposed to be a decorative plate, thereby ensuring the odor would be a constant distraction to the diner.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“6 Legs” by Dina Rumsey6 Legs

Materials: oil on canvas, Lysol toilet bowl cleaner

At first glance 6 Legs is a benign and placid nature scene, once derided by Thomas Kinkade as “Hacky even to me.” But Rumsey’s work can never be so easily dismissed. As she explained at its unveiling, the ant pictured near center is on a harrowing journey that will end in its gruesome dismemberment by a vicious spider. The ant will struggle for hours in the web, begging for its life, only to be devoured in a slow and painful manner by the arachnid. The ant, Rumsey explained, had ventured out only to escape an abusive family situation. Rumsey was widely known as a “real bummer.”

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“Sandringham Lane” by Sara R. BarrettSandringham Lane

Materials: watercolors, spite

Hotels need art, too. It’s a thriving market. No, I don’t think I wasted all your money by going to that expensive art school, Dad. I found the most important thing there: myself. Tell Mom I love her. No, I don’t know about Thanksgiving yet, I’ll call you next week.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“Pi Time We Went” by Tai SheridanPi Time We Went

Materials: oil, duct tape, China Glaze nail polish

Simple in its design but devastating in its overall effect, this piece from Sheridan’s Chicago period sees the artist wondering aloud: what if the symbol for pi had a party with a bunch of its friends? The results are not only aesthetically startling but also impossible to argue against. This is exactly what that party would look like, no joke.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian






“Mercury Rain” by Kurt MayoMercury Rain

Materials: watercolors, broken thermometers

Mayo was renowned for his skill with realistically depicting various liquids. Usually quite hard to portray, he developed a brush technique that allowed him to convincingly paint the beautiful, controlled chaos of spilling fluids. He was not very good at drawing horses, though. The legs never looked right.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“Chrome Spring” by Hari GraemeChrome Spring

Materials: charcoal (the kind with the lighter fluid already in it)

Spring is known for its burst of Technicolor splendor. Graeme has flipped the script, imagining spring in glorious black and white, like a movie from Hollywood’s golden age; a black and white movie about spring. The piece is famous in the west coast art community as the one which made so many gasp and say, “Oh my god that would look so cute on a pillow. Wouldn’t that look cute on a pillow?”

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“Petals (Why, Samantha?)” by Lynn Boogie-SmithPetals (Why, Samantha?)

Materials: watercolors, eyebrow pencil, tea leaves

Poor little flower. Relegated to the bottom of the frame, it reaches up in desperation to call on its oblivious paramour. Plucked apart petal-by-petal by a cruel (but popular) child, it is half the flower it once was, much less than the beautiful, fully-intact flower above could ever desire. The orange poppy in the upper left smiles in a classic depiction of schadenfreude floral, the ugliest of emotions in the natural world, aside from perhaps when monkeys laugh at uglier monkeys.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“Neon Nitemare in Boystown” by Mikal SarongNeon Nitemare in Boystown

Materials: oils (some facial) on canvas

The Lollipop Man lounges in his bed of lava and laughs. He laughs at the futility of man’s efforts to bring peace and order. He laughs at the energy wasted by charitable do-gooders who don’t realize they are only serving their own fragile egos. Mostly, he laughs at you and your pathetic attempts to justify your own existence on this bitter, inhospitable planet. He might be holding a cat, it’s hard to tell.

  • Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Evolution in Real Time” by Frank HardtackEvolution in Real Time
Materials: crayon and marker on cardboard

Two fish go one way, a third is content in iconoclasm. Triangles dance as triangles often do. This seemingly whimsical scene is actually a depiction of a cruel Darwinian game Hardtack would play in his personal fish tank. Dubbed “Swim Little Fish, Swim,” the game involved dropping several fish into the water with a larger predator fish and scooping out the last survivor, the fastest of the group. Hardtack planned to make his fortune selling the swiftest fish collected from these experiments but soon realized this would not be as profitable as he assumed. Luckily for the artist, this panting sold for over 17 million dollars in a 2004 auction, bought by a newly rich Texan who didn’t know better.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Damnation, Under God” by Everett Ramos, Jr.Damnation, Under God
Materials: highlighter pens on canvas

“It’s coming closer/the flames are now licking my body” sang Elvis Presley in his disturbing apocalyptic masterpiece “Burning Love.” Much like the King’s Dante-esque vision of a sinner’s afterlife, this work by Everett Ramos, Jr. peers directly into the dark heart of Satan’s kingdom. Regarding this piece, you can almost feel the singeing flames of hell on your face. You can hear the anguished screams of the damned. You can smell the sulfur and detect the eyes of Beelzebub piercing your soul as if to say, “Your time for punishment has come.” Some people also think it looks like a wheat field.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Twilight: Breaking Dawn” by Nancy MoranoTwilight: Breaking Dawn
Materials: watercolors moistened by tears on poster board

In painting, fullness of effect is created by blending shadows with a darker area underneath those shadows. Rembrandt was a particular master of this technique, but he never bothered to paint redwood trees, so his contribution to the world of painting is somewhat negligible. Far more renowned is Oregon’s former lieutenant governor Nancy Morano. Morano turned to painting after her impeachment — she was implicated in a coupon-backdating scam — and her technique blossomed prodigiously.This piece has it all: fullness of effect, shadows, redwood trees and, if one looks very carefully, the entire original cast of Taxi hidden somewhere in the frame.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Lumberjack’s Paradise vol. 1 & 2” by Kermit SlatchLumberjack's Paradise vol. 1
Materials: Mac eyeshadow on canvas

Slatch’s two-part masterpiece is the Rubber Soul and Revolver of evergreen forest depictions. These two distinct halves, similar in style and both striking in their artistic maturity, are often coupled as twin representations of the artist’s remarkable mid-career hot streak (these paintings earned him the cover of Brushstroke magazine, as well as a lucrative commission from a company that makes car air fresheners). Slatch’s daring use of the color green for the pine needles and leaves is Lumberjack's Paradise vol. 2still discussed widely in art schools, as is his habit of running into his own gallery screaming “Smells like Christmas, don’t it?”

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“Joyful Plants” by Kevin RossJoyful Plants
Materials: hand-me-down pencils and watercolors on leftover paper

Kevin Ross, the younger brother of public television celebrity Bob Ross, was a painter in his own right. The younger Ross sibling struggled for recognition, living in the figurative shadow of Bob’s fame and the literal shadow of his superior ‘fro. Here we see a typical example of Kevin’s work, which his mother described as “very nice” and “almost as good as your brother’s paintings” and “better than joining a gang.” Ross lives in New Hampshire and sells jam on his personal website. Do not buy it.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Life is Never Still” by Dave “Two Shoes” NelsonLife is Never Still
Materials: watercolors on paper

With angelic grace but brute strength, the first flower of spring surges skyward to take its place in the bright landscape of mother earth’s great pageant. Its petals, indistinct and glob-like, sit like a giant lollipop head on a spindly green stem. The winter was long and hard but the sun has finally returned to bring its rejuvenating warmth. There is no stopping this flower from its glorious bloom. If this does not move you to tears, you are dead inside and beyond help.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“Opiate and Anthony” by Serena FrancescoOpiate and Anthony
Materials: scrounged from abandoned Dave & Buster’s

The dizzying array of choices for mental anesthetization lulls us into a media-created stupor, where we are one with our devices and our devices all blur together. Television, radio, a watering can pouring onto a battery: these are the tools used by the Entertainment Industrial Complex to turn us into zombies. What Francesco has done, with wit and lots of glue, is show how these mind-atrophying tools are all one and the same. I don’t own a telvision, I prefer podcasts.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“All We Own We Owe” by Elizabeth SimpkinAll We Own We Owe
Materials: organic condiments on white bread

A devastating satire on wealth disparity in modern America, this piece takes us into world — right up in the grill, you might say, though why would you — of obscene wealth. The hood ornament of a luxury automobile is the perfect symbolism for the predatory nature of the upper class: the wildcat strikes, taking what it can, and leaving only half-eaten rotting carcasses for those lower on the food chain. The car is white (the color of American privilege); the background is green (the color of money); the hood ornament is silver (the dealership was out of rose quartz).

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Mary in the Afternoon (1974)” by John EhrlichmanMary in the Afternoon (1974)
Materials: oils and pencil on bleached USA Today

Ehrlichman, a master of subtle eroticism, considered this to be his Mona Lisa, in that no one in his own time thought it was any good. Now, of course, we know better. The subject’s towel clings for dear life, tantalizingly threatening to reveal buttocks which may or may not even be present. It is unclear whether she is undressing pre-coitus or collecting herself after the act, but her stiffly erect shoulder blades suggest a powerful sexual charge in the air. This is one fondue party nobody would want to miss.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“Elephant’s Memory” by Harvey Wall-BangerElephant's Memory
Materials: Charcoal on paper

An elephant, goes the common saying, never forgets. This is not true. Also, bats are not blind. Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not his creation. These common misconceptions drove the artist clinically cuckoo and he dedicated his life to painting conversation pieces that would allow him to correct the speech of others. God help you if you asked him for an “expresso.” Wall-Banger is currently serving a 12-year sentence for murdering a man who referred to the store as “Nordstrom’s.”

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“Motor Cars, Handlebars, Bicycles for Two” by Pema HerringboneMotor Cars, Handlebars, Bicycles for Two
Materials: crushed fruit gummies on canvas

By including everything, you include nothing. By crowding the frame, you create space. Contradictions are not contradictions at all — but are they? The artist’s seemingly random choices of items to depict is a witty comment on modern society’s “more is more” fallacy. Herringbone knew that buying another wingless bird, or cigarette box with lips, or purple striped bugle puking water can’t make you happy. She reportedly wished to include several more items but ran out of time, which is itself a comment on something.

– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian







Venetian Apotheosis (Gerry’s Place)Venetian Apotheosis (Gerry’s Place)
By Smythe Bruce
Materials: Watercolors moistened by tears on canvas

Smythe Bruce — an artist of almost unparalleled skill at public accounting — also did some paintings, and this is certainly one of them. The sunlight forces its way through the trees to announce the coming of the new day, or the birth of a new feline monarch. Bruce, the self-proclaimed Master of Sleight, is known for producing paintings which reveal different images when viewed from various angles. Looked at sideways, this piece bears a striking resemblance to daylight streaming through wooden shutters. In the land of the blinds, the man with really nice blinds truly is king.

— Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian.



C. HhhhhhhhhhC. Hhhhhhhhhh

Materials: Dry Brush, Gasoline, Primer

This simple landscape isn’t even a landscape at all — it’s a painting. And it is a painting only in the most literal sense. It was once a blank canvas, which then had paint applied to it. The paint dried in the shape of a snowy mountain crag, by all accounts the simplest, smallest idea that a painting can express. There is absolutely no artistic expression in this piece; it is regarded as a piece of art solely because it is hanging in a gallery. The context is essential, the piece cannot stand on its own and retain this label. As soon as this piece is removed from a gallery, it might as well be a piece of WonderBread for all the significance it has.

— Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian.




Materials: Two (2) canvaseses, light oils, mixed tedia

Through this piece and its companion UM SURE (a four-hundred-foot-long triptych, currently on display at the Royal Art Museum of the Justification in Canada) the artist begs the question, “like, what?” This piece is a classic example of the Undisciplinariast school, which came in to and fell out of prominence in Toronto in the third week of November, 1998.

– David Cairns, Artistologist
“Crafter’s Outlet Anyone Can Paint #28” by M. HarmonCrafter’s Outlet Anyone Can Paint #28
Acrylic on paint by numbers card

The artist created this work during his controversial Paint By Numbers period of the late 1980s and early 90s. A raccoon engages the viewer with his coalblack eyes, caught in the act of posing for a painting.

– EDW Lynch







“Hail Mary Full of Angels” by Ignacio KornbluthHail Mary Full of Angels
Acrylic on Bible pages

The Virgin Mary is beset by a swarm of angels in this tribute to Italian Renaissance fresco by Ignacio Kornbluth. The curiously upright stance of the inverted angel on the lower right of the painting allows the work to be enjoyed upside-down.

– EDW Lynch







Materials: just some papers, markers, purple stuff, what not

OGRE reflects the artist’s inner monster, and subverts the relationship he has to it — What if the monster were on the outside? This post-modern take on Magical Realism incorporates elements of cubism and Super Street Fighter III Turbo.

– David Cairns, Artistologist







“Wading to Exhale” by Dr. Jabo BrontleyWading to Exhale

Materials: Extra-thick Office Depot brand paper, colored pencils (half sharpened)

Brontley, once a professor of animal husbandry at Yuma Vocational College, once described this piece as “a nightmare of post-postmodern self-image”. The central figure, a bather both infantile and buxom, shows a heartbreaking reluctance to become fully submerged, having been filled with insecurity by the harshness of modern society. The figures in the background are predatory and cactus-like for some reason. Dr. Brontley is currently single.

–  Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian




“Raspberry Dreams No. 14” by Warren DroulliardRaspberry Dreams No. 14
Oil and nightmares on recycled sympathy cards

Darwin springs from the earth, like the glorious fauna he studied in the Galapagos. Is it the reincarnation of the Father of Modern Science, or just a red-hued likeness? It might be Santa. Anyway, he has a beard (Droulliard was famously inept at drawing upper lips). The sickly homunculus stands next to him, a symbol of evolution gone amok, tighty whiteys clinging on for dear life. He beckons to a lover or a sandwich. Both? Droulliard committed suicide shortly after this work, which makes the rainbows extra depressing.



“Spring Collection – Broome Street Jacket” by Cathrain BrippleberrySpring Collection - Broome Street Jacket
Oils, “The Kiss” 26″x20″ poster by Gustav Klimt, Fall 1999 JC Penny catalogue

This illustration was commissioned for the Kate Spade catalogue in 2001. In producing this piece, the artist employed her oft-never-imitated process of eating other works of art, in an attempt to infuse her body and mind with her inspirations. Unfortunately, the artist was unaware of how bodies work. This illustration was never was never used in any advertisement.

Ms Brippleberry died in 2002 of ink poisoning.

— David Cairns, artologist




“You’re Killin’ Me, Bro” by Chuck FontesYou’re Killin’ Me, Bro

A bromantic comedy gone so hellishly wrong, addict sports gambler and half-Naga Chuck Fontes’ auto-biographical masterpiece depicts not just the exquisite pain of a Latin man’s stranglehold but also having no shoulders. In an homage to Munch, Fontes desperately faces the audience while agony floods his every goateed pore, but his captor listens not, staring with empty satisfaction into yonder abyss, or perhaps at the basketball game on TV. I’m just surprised “benefit” is spelled correctly.

– Professional Painting Yelper Ari Rust





“Dessert’ed” by Matilde HandDessert’ed

Using various colored cake frosting stolen from a Safeway bakery, this piece engages the viewer almost immediately, challenging one to let go of rationale for just a moment, and fully absorb its striking symbolic symbols. The cherubic, cream-filled Rush Limbaugh hovers serenely above a sinister figure, severely tanned and yet a wisp of a man, whilst a ghost rushes in behind both figures, as if bursting with exciting news from its previous life, the asymmetrical rainbow binding all of them together.

— Alani Foxall, Visual Consumer
“Untitled with Moon” by Steven MichelangeloUntitled with Moon
Acrylic on bus transfers

Created during the artist’s relapse phase, this work was rescued from a thrift store and painstakingly restored with forensic dish soap to its present condition. It is unclear why the painting has an unsettling orange cast. Some believe the artist wished to deface the work. Others believe the painting was abandoned in a garage where water damage took its toll. Regardless, the stain lends a certain patina to the work that only adds to its allure. Wait, no it doesn’t.

-EDW Lynch



“The Gaze”TURBAN
Materials: I got a staple in my finger what do I do

The Gaze is a self portrait in the traditional Wagonerian style, in which the artist depicts himself in a disguise or otherwise peculiar clothing, especially clothing of another culture. Though a truly traditional exemplification of this style has the subject looking dead into the viewer’s perspective, this artist has opted for a coy look to the side, leaving the viewer to question “Why?”. Is it cowardice or gentility? Is he trying to think of a lie?

– David Cairns, Artistologist





“The World Crack’d”CRACKED
Materials: #1 Pencil, #3 Pencil, colored pencil, tissue paper, Cardboarda di Firenze

This French New Wave sketch is unique in the sense that it can be considered both pre- and post-Primitivist. There are two subjects in this piece – the house in the distance and the cracked earth in the foreground. The house itself represents the traditional family structure of the Classical era. Its dilapidation and the cracked, barren earth that surrounds it epitomize the Primitivist idea that people live in different ways. The selection of medium and mode was intended to enhance the house’s plainness, and is itself Expressionistic.

– David Cairns, Artistologist 




Materials: Wood, laquer, owling chafe, Anti-Wood

While this piece is very rare and extremely valuable (it was last appraised in the tens of millions of lira), the viewer is encourage to pick it up and kind of play around with it, like one might do with an owl found in the wilderness. The artist explicitly stated, upon submitting this piece to the show, that people should “get all up on [this piece]” and “touch it and throw it around or whatever, I don’t care.”

– David Cairns, Artistologist





Materials: Medium-grade acid-full paper, water colors paints, water, Colgate WhiteGuard Toothpaste

This piece depicts the hazy silhouette of a floating cityscape, a la Bespin, a rendering of our possible future. But: it is only visible through a smoky, gloppy patina. The artist asks, “What is the environmental cost of a Cloud City?” and, furthermore, “Why would we want one?” Truly, a stirring piece. – Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




Materials: Crayola Rockin Blue #9 Magic Marker, Sharpie felt-tip #6, pastel, canvas

The deep blue palette of Night lulls the viewer into the piece, drawing them closer. The bright white eye attracts one’s attention like the light of a lamprey eel. The viewer finds themselves coaxed into the painting, lost in the forbidden dark of the deep sea of their mind. And then they can look at it.

– David Cairns, Artistologist



“Intensity of Daylight”BALD
Materials: Bits of charcoal, Sweet ‘n Savory Dry Ink Rub, Stipple Sauce #9, CD of Sublime’s “40 Oz. To Freedom”

In this piece, the artist represents her inner frustration. The lack of any brilliant hue almost asks the viewer’s eyes to pass right over this piece in gallery, almost as if it is saying, “Don’t look at me, I’m not worth your time.” The artist has depicted herself as a skull, bald of all flesh, which is a symbolic brash understatement of her raw appetite (note the teeth) for success (note the lack of success).

– David Cairns, Artistologist




Materials: Assorted Inks, grey rainwater, “How to Draw Technophobic Nightmares” by H.R. Giger, bleached parchment

The artist asks us to imagine a world in which birds (and presumably other animals) have developed their own technology. Would they be better at it than humans? Such deconstruction of man’s technological achievement exaggerates how “un-human” our actual inventions are. Will we ever be able to “wear” an “iPod”? Probably not, but, then, why would we want to?

– David Cairns, Artistologist




“Still Life of a Flying Whale (With Jellyfish)”Still Life of a Flying Whale (With Jellyfish)
Materials: Light, oil-based paints, the first time using LSD

The artist’s own misconceptions about the form of whales and their method of locomotion is evident in this piece, but he cleverly illustrates how freeing not knowing anything about the subject can be. Here we see a whale free from all normal, expected, natural (and therefore trite) context. It has transcended the place in the universe it was given. It has grown horns, it is friends with jellyfish. It can fly.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




“It’s my ART, Dad!” by Alan L’nalhalIt’s my ART, Dad!

This piece is indicative of the style of mid-2000s Portland dwellers, of trying to reinvent new ideas of what it could mean to be ‘weird’ or ‘abstract’ — and finally found its home in the phrase ‘totally whoa’, which so captured the movement, it became eponymous. Artists of the Totally Whoa style are characteristically very jaded, seeking only to produce that which has never been produced before, at the cost of the thing having any inherent meaning. The artist here depicts himself as a surprisingly well-rendered wolf, staring at the viewer dolefully, almost as if to say, “I hope you don’t enjoy this, because nothing has meaning”.

— David Cairns, artologist



“Untitled” by Lula WhodrewUntitled
Materials: Memories, mixed media, a synapse, a book on Queery Theory, Jane Fonda Workout, VHS

A number of images intermix here with varying effectiveness, and, in their own way, form a sort of visual staccato. Like a John Cage arrangement operating without a conductor, the symbols in this piece present themselves just how they are, with no sense of preparation on aesthetic effort. In this sense, it is art at its purest, an expression of the artist’s true sentiment, far before they consider whether it might be “good” or “make sense”.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist



“WHAT” by Ricky LakeWHAT
Mat-he-rials: charcoal, sulphur, man-made heavy cardstock, a real man’s course hungry blood

Late ant-feminist painter / essaying / poet / “dick-sculptor” Ricky Lake, most famous for not being the popular daytime television host, made this painting on a dare. While the artist is a pretty generally hated person, this piece is notable for having popularized the highlighting of a woman’s “tee tees and coo-joo” while not depicting the man’s “bongo mallet”. While initially seen as juvenile, these terms are now considered commonplace.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




“Revenge of Zoroaster” by Grenadine HamburgerRevenge of Zoroaster

The Bible tells the parable of the Garden of Eden, wherein the Serpent convinces Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, which teaches her the difference between Good and Evil, thus breaking Humankind of its manacles of innocence, a happening known as Original Sin. Themes of this story are the basis of nearly all cultures descended from Abrahamic religions, composing all of Western society. The artist, heavily influenced by “Chicken Soup for the Country Soul” and then “The Five-Day Study Bible”, figured they would give it a shot, and try to hit everything at once. With polka dots.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




“Still Life with Blue Vase” by Juli BegalfiStill Life with Blue Vase
Materials: Drafting paper, watercolors

Look at this. The flowers look so nice, like real flowers only better because they won’t die. My favorite is the little one who’s all droopy. I mean, he’s down, but he’s not out, you know? I just… I just don’t know what to say other than it’s beautiful and pretty and that’s enough sometimes. I’m not going to lie: I’ve been drinking.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian





“Rad: A Lie Made to a Beggar” by Brian Cherghorn aka “The Unknown Artist”Rad: A Lie Made to a Beggar
Materials: Lettermatic RI-84 letterpress machine, gold leaf, Kirkland Felt Blood Drops

Why does heartbreak always make us cry? Why wouldn’t it make us bleed or pee or defecate? Why not yell quasi-anachronistic expressions? Literature theorists have long said there is no reason for it. Richard Longview, eminent Harvard chair of Comparative Literature Theory, has even said, “there is no reason for it!”. And yet it still holds true, unwavering and unchanging. Perhaps someday, Humankind will learn how to break this terrible cycle of oracular leakage, but until then, the only cure is ice cream.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist



“Saturdays with Mr. Albert” by Bram HardwickeSaturdays with Mr. Albert
Materials: Cardboard stock, Crayola Washables

Perhaps Hardwicke’s most accessible work, “Saturdays with Mr. Albert” shows little of the artist’s usual flair for the bizarre. Clearly inspired by the cozy Americana of Norman Rockwell, it portrays a placid weekend visit with a beloved old relative. One can practically smell the fresh-baked cookies and lemonade. Despite this, most people seem to fixate on the naked transsexual in the bowler hat slaughtering the green demon.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian





“Portrait of Uncle Glen — Thanksgiving, 1983” by Alvarez HickenlooperPortrait of Uncle Glen -- Thanksgiving, 1983
Materials: Canvas, watercolors, cadaver eyebrow hair

One in a series of captivating family portraits, “Uncle Glen” is nothing less than a shocking comment on the deterioration of the American family. The subject, his collar spread wide like the legs of his many conquests, has the cold hard stare of a silver fox who has run out of henhouses to plunder. After a rude remark about cousin Judith’s abortion, he is on the receiving end of a vicious potato peeler attack, leaving his handsome face bloodied. The whole scene, like the curtains in the background, is ugly.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian




“Painting from Sunday afternoon, November 24th, 1991” by Dr Steve Knotts, DDSPainting from Sunday afternoon, November 24th, 1991
Materials: Level 3 Landscape Painter’s Starter Pack, particle board frame

The history of art can be traced back from student to teacher, movement to movement, following the same arc of the rest of human history, constantly tracing the details of events and moods in Humanity’s ever-shifting, ever-evolving zeitgeist. So many artists never take on an apprentice, and so their style, their depth of knowledge and technique, terminate with the artist’s death. Few great artists, however, take on millions of students, as did the late Bob Ross. Because of his tireless dedication, the art world was infused with a tidal wave of incredibly derivative, similarly bland, boring landscapes, thus bringing the price of art down to where the common man can appreciate it in his or her own home. Because of Ross’s efforts, a piece by an old master like Rembrandt or Cezanne can be had for only seventy or eighty dollars. Most no longer even remember when such pieces would fetch prices into the millions.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist


“Humdonger” by Doug TolftaeldHumdonger
Materials: Canvas, oils, Viagra, the world’s most flattering mirror

The artist paints herself as a dog pretending to be a man on a hot Summer evening in New York City. The cocktail of amphetamines and hallucinogens starting to take hold, she straps herself to a chair to protect her fragile, imaginary penis from the walls‚ melting into the evening’s sky, where the Sun gains consciousness, finding itself more marshmallow Peep than it is accustomed to being. She blindfolds herself against the maelstrom of things realizing things.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




“Hipster Christening” by M.A. HoarehockHipster Christening
Materials: Canvas, mixed oils, nightmare tonic, whatever

This piece recalls the artist’s own traumatic Christening / Bris / parent’s divorce. The parents, undeniably hip, look down at their pathetic prodigy, their hopes and dreams for him suddenly stillborn, They realize that a Christening ceremony is not “ironic” even with a little person as officiant.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist





“Everything I Do (I Do it For You)” by Merkhopfer BlumEverything I Do (I Do it For You)
Materials: Canvas, oils, a poor understanding of human anatomy

There is nothing greater than the transformative power of love. In this piece, Blum presents two lovers transmogrified by their passion. Afro at full, glorious flower, the man has reverted to a reptilian state of carnal hunger, his forked tongue feeling around for some moist reciprocation, or perhaps just a nosh. The woman, unable to satisfy her lust with two human hands, extends nine greedy tentacles. She closes her eyes in anticipation. At last, she sighs, Internet dating has proven effective.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian




“Death in Repose (Summer Reruns)” by Alexandra McNicholasDeath in Repose (Summer Reruns)
Materials: Canvas, oils, Puffy Paints

Death does indeed, from time to time, take a holiday. This piece finds the Reaper himself enjoying a “staycation” of the most mundane sort. The very banality of this activity, or lack of activity, conjures a sense of macabre irony; we are always mindful of Death’s presence in our lives, and Death never misses an episode of “The Glee Project”. The raven, perched on the Reaper’s left shoulder, also watches but does not comprehend. Ravens are stupid.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian




“Fish with Blue” by Ryan ReynoldsFish with Blue
Materials: Body oil paints, crayon

The artist here has represent sherself as a simple golden fish set on a simple blue hued background. However, the observer’s eyes are distracted by the coil of supine serpents that enthrong the fish. What purpose do they serve? Do they represent hardship, or does the artist just like dark, oily swirly-wirlies?

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist





Materials: Heavy oils, little plastic owl doodles, little plastic parrot doodles, fake flowers,

San Francisco has long been a “vital” part of drug culture in the United States and the world, due to the popularization of psychedelics and hallucinogens in the city in the 1960s. For decades, young “artists” have followed the footsteps of their heroes, flocking to the Haight Ashbury district to sleep in the park and bother people for money while under the influence of mind-“expanding” drugs. This piece is an homage of sorts to this very lifestyle. We can see a number of people dressed ridiculously, bothering one another and hawking Street Sheets, while the giant painterly flowers grow out of nothing in particular. Viewers are encouraged to experience this piece in all the senses they can muster. Get up close to it. Put your nose in the vestibule, smell the carefully-crafted street people. If one closes one’s eyes, one can almost hear them say, “Green herb. Dank bud here.”

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




“Bartleby with the Northern Lights” by Johann Grummler-DanstBartleby with the Northern Lights
Materials: wood, oils

The Aurora Borealis dances in the night sky, but not for Bartleby. The subject is believed to be a representation of the artist’s brother, a simpleton who never removed his plumed hat except for during lovemaking, when he put on a larger hat. His complete obliviousness to the wonders of the cosmos, combined with his effeminate shoulder bag, suggest a deep, heavily feathered eccentricity. It also appears as if someone has stolen his shopping cart.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian




“#5: Harry and the Shirt from Kohl’s” by Roseanne Leavey#5: Harry and the Shirt from Kohl's
Materials: Canvas, pastels, Hai Karate aftershave

Roseanne Leavey first attracted notice in the Pittsburgh art scene with her daring series re-imagining famous cinematic creatures as humans in everyday life. “#1: Godzilla at Trader Joe’s” is perhaps the best known piece, along with “#7: Gremlin Teleconference.” This selection shows Harry, of “Harry and the Hendersons”, stripped of his Sasquatch persona. His trepidation is plain to see in his haunted eyes. He is contemplating his new role as a part of the race that shunned him, his confusion at the modern world, and whether he made the right decision becoming a high school guidance counselor.

– Note by Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian



“Tequila Sunrise” by Scott NicholsonTequila Sunrise

Tequila, grenadine, orange juice, canvas

Pour Tequila and orange juice in a glass filled with ice. Add grenadine. Do not stir.

– EDW Lynch





“On The Farm” by Irma WawawamOn The Farm

Acrylic on tear-soaked canvas

This piece presents dystopian vision of agrarian existence shrouded in the post-modern kitsch of the cow-on-the-farm genre. The cow in this instance is clearly an avatar for mankind and the tyranny of life in a world ruled by technology. Look carefully at his eyes. His *human* eyes. Shudder.

– EDW Lynch



“Not a Yellow Trumpet” by Suzanne CaravaggioNot a Yellow Trumpet
Acrylic on #8 Art Board

Created over the course of one and a half hours, this elegiac painting speaks volumes to the artist’s vague knowledge of guitar appearance and function. The piece was found on a curbside in San Francisco by art expert and humanitarian EDW Lynch. It would look nice on a yellow wall or in a black dumpster.

– EDW Lynch




“Maria” by Quintin RodriguezMaria
Watercolor and pencil on paper

This haunting portrait seems to draw us deep into the eyes and grimacing but perfect teeth of Maria Shriver. We sense the veil of artifice surrounding Shriver, the tug of fame, the tragedy of the spotlight. But mostly we can’t look away from those eyes and those white, white teeth.

– EDW Lynch





“Murky Lake During the Orange Days” by Geoffrey LemonbarMurky Lake During the Orange Days
Oil on 50% recycled consumer content

Mountain peaks climb into a chemical fog in this intriguing landscape painting. To the left we see a majestic generic conifer rendered in the artist’s peculiar let’s-use-all-the-paint brushstrokes. There’s a message in the tree, something in the brushstrokes and the muddy colors. And that message is “Goddamnit.”

– EDW Lynch



“Empty Nest Still Life” by Karen Rice HunterEmpty Nest Still Life
Acrylic on crummy fiberboard

After Mr. Hunter left to “find himself” in Amsterdam, the artist shifted her subject matter to flowers in pots. We see in the wilting chrysanthemum and weeping peonies some type of symbolism that could surely be interpreted in some way. The blotches of puffy white flower appear as an afterthought. One can almost hear the artist muttering to herself. Muttering and smoking.

– EDW Lynch




Desert Sky ARCH
Materials: Very dry blue paint #3, a hard flat horsehair brush

Desert Sky transports the viewer to a land that is both familiar and unfamiliar, a place of realistic fantasy. The deep ravine has been dug out by a muddy river, representing the inexorable passage of time, and, by extension, the viewer’s own mortality. The ram is a symbol of vitality. It is ever watchful of the steady progress of time, wearing us down. The titular arch itself is a reminder: where once we were a full, high mountain, now time has taken all but the memory of our greatness.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist





Materials: small nylon brush, Crayola SuperPaintz 10-pack

The vase that is the subject of Whole/Hole calls to mind tragedy in all its forms. Where once the vase was whole, now it has a hole in its side. The artist explores this theme with the detailing of the jagged edge, but also reminds us that no tragedy or setback is ever insurmountable. The rays of light shining through the gaping hole illustrate the figurative and literal silver lining of proverb. The growth of green reinforces this idea – the natural world (and hence the universe itself) never stops growing and changing, despite human affairs.

The image is rendered with a quaint forced perspective that takes the viewer out of their initial interpretation, and reminds them that objectivity is the key to overcoming an existential crisis. Your Lucky numbers are: 12, 17, 35, 86, 12.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist

Materials: simple canvas, pastels, Stereolab CD

Moonlight is a complicated piece. While it is technically a “drawing” it also evokes (perhaps even more strongly than its visual elements) the sounds and smells of a marshy beach. In order to truly appreciate this piece, the “viewer” should stand a shoulders distance from it and close his or her eyes, then bend forward slightly and inhale deeply the scent of the canvas. Additionally, a recording of seagulls will accentuate this piece [NOT PROVIDED].

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




Materials: canvas, oils, frame, matting, frame

Scholars know nothing about the origins of this piece or its creator, aside from the contents of the hand-written autobiography that was found lying next to it. This mystery has created significant intrigue around this piece, with some art historians insisting it must be a lost original Rembrandt, and others merely a high school student’s art class project. Consequently, the piece has been sold at auction numerous times, at prices alternating between the tens of millions and, like, twelve bucks.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist




Materials: pastels, colored pencils, Some Kind of Paint, Um a Heavyish Posterboard?

This piece was rendered by the famed nonsense artist known as Anonymous. “Forget the form,” she (?) said in a letter to the review board of the Academy of Art University. “Look at this painting and then try to forget what you’re looking at. Remember that your eyes are always lying to you, and try to “see” past them. Imagine that, rather than looking, your eyes are drunk and they are DESCRIBING a dream that they once heard someone explaining to a bored friend in a Thai restaurant. Also included is my favorite food and prime number down there in the corner.”

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist



Winter Train

Materials: AntiFreeze, boot black, JPEG compression

This piece reminds the Western viewer of our responsibility to control nature through the means of our technology. Depicting a wild, culturally barren “wilderness” the artist has built a train track and an electric power line through it, dividing it into two smaller, more manageable wildernesses, each representing a side of the duality of man. A lone “locomotive” (literally, “crazy movement”) patrols the border between the two worlds. The fox (“intellect”) tries to hide behind a bush, but her technological overlords see all.

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist



Materials: Thickly-applied oils, Nutella, caulk

MESS is best accompanied by this note from the artist:
“Originally painted MESS after ingesting a large amount of pot-cupcakes [note: “cupcakes” is a slang term for LSD or “acid” and eating my friend Jessica’s pussy. Turned out later she had V.D. Anyway, I thought it was a terrible painting, so I threw it away. A couple months later, I tried to do a still life of a fish taco and produced the same exact painting. I don’t remember painting it. It’s like I was in a fugue state. Anyway, it was still a terrible painting so I did a shot of Scope and threw away the canvas. The following week I did a painting of the ocean — it was really beautiful, seriously — and then I passed out and woke up and this painting was on my easel. I was going to throw it away for, I guess at this point, the third time, but by then it had grown on me.”

– Note by David Cairns, Artistologist



“Studio Apartment Desperado” by Cristo AndoliniStudio Apartment Desperado

Materials: charcoal on drugs

Andolini was a specialist in depicting curiously unidentifiable animals, many with varying forms of male pattern baldness. This dog, or goat, or some combination of the two, is very depressed after his divorce and it shows. He no longer enjoys his usual hobbies and is paying way too much money to lease a Camaro. But the key to Andolini’s work, whether it’s this piece or his more famous rendering of an overweight turtle in line at the pharmacy, is the sympathy for his subjects. Soon the figure will turn his eyes upward and realize the future isn’t so bleak after all: his ex-wife still hasn’t changed her HBO Go password.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Apocalypse, Hold the Onions” by Mario Luigi-EpsteinApocalypse, Hold the Onions

Materials: markers found in a booth at Round Table on paper

Pizza, the food of peasants and kings, has inspired too many great artists to name, so none will be named, for brevity. But this stunning example from 1982 shows how even in the chaos of the rapture, pizza can be a balm for the soul. The olives may be scattered and not evenly distributed, but their spirit is strong, and the pie came with ranch for dipping the crust. The artist was very fond of America’s favorite food but never progressed to referring to it as “za,” which he felt was “retarded.”

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“The Fifth Season” by Andrea B. Doran
Who’ll Buy?

It is difficult for the human imagination to escape its limits. Knowing nothing else, we cannot imagine a world without a sky, intelligent life without language, a moisturizer that won’t leave your hands greasy. So Doran, born in Toronto in 1970, shows remarkable outside-the-boxiness by creating a fifth earth season, which she called “Sarnt.” Sarnt is believed to have fallen sometime between spring and summer, as both fresh greenery and burnt leaves appear to be present. Sarnt has no federal holidays but the weather is pleasant with low humidity, at least north of the equator. But remember: Sarnt only happens every twelve years, so if your birthday falls during this season, you’re kinda screwed.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Who’ll Buy?” by Niki CirulnickWho’ll Buy?

Materials: love beads on young velvet, craft glue

By appropriating common objects normally associated with “low art” – such as crudely fashioned bead necklaces you’d find at a street fair – Cirulnick is commenting on the hypocritical criteria often used to elevate some work while denigrating more popular forms. Fastening the items to bright red velvet is also a witty remark in itself, as if the necklace were just another tacky image of Elvis Presley, and it makes the jewely really pop. Her kiosk also has these really cute ceramic frogs.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Wedding of the Cupcake Princess” by Blake HufnagelWedding of the Cupcake Princess

Materials: Betty Crocker frosting and oils on canvas

Strongly influenced by the urban cupcake craze of the mid-2000s, Hufnagel invented a rich (both in detail and calories) world with its own mythology and available recipes. This piece depicts the marriage of Frostina the Cupcake Princess to Crimsonius the Red Velvet Prince. As their amorphous but no doubt delicious well-wishers dance around them, the Princess wonders if she is doing the right thing. Yes, joining their kingdoms means an end to the Fondant Wars, but is sacrificing true love too high a cost? Hufnagel eventually abandoned the series and began painting $6 toast.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“A Flower by Any Other Name” By Katy LyedA Flower by Any Other Name

Materials: Raw sensuality on papier-mache and lace

Vaginas, vaginas, that’s all anyone wants to talk about. It’s just a flower, okay? I hate how everyone is always trying to make everything about sex. Grow up, you guys. This is embarrassing, like that time I mispronounced “Gaugin” in front of the whole class. God, what a boner. Hey, why are you laughing? Oh, knock it off!

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“The Spring of Influence” by Walter B. MitchellThe Spring of Influence

Reflecting the artist’s broad range of musical passions, this piece features a quote from Johnny Cash’s c&w classic “Folsom Prison Blues” as well as the personal credo of hip-hop artist Tupac “2Pac” Shakur. The other two squares do not feature any quotes from musical artists, as Mitchell ran out of room to write “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”. The juxtaposition of a flower, a symbol of peace, with quotes about murder, a symbol of murder, is jarring and also probably an accident. This painting is free with the purchase of chicken tenders – inquire at the bar.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Journey into Knowing” by “Gentle” George PiperJourney into Knowing

Materials: Watercolors, various lip glosses on canvas

A striking study in something, this piece challenges you to question why the stars are so large and visible when the sun hasn’t finished going down. Of course, there is no answer, as that is the way of truly great art. One is instantly reminded of Van Gogh, whose heirs are fortunately not very litigious. The lone sailboat glides silently on the still water, its unseen skipper likely pondering his or her very existence, and also pondering why the stars look like snails. Piper was the only artist in a family of professional wrestlers, and is perhaps best known for painting several rejected album covers for Mike Oldfield.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Frankie no. 4 (Postman’s Tyranny)” by Sharon Clarke-BarrFrankie no. 4 (Postman’s Tyranny)

Materials: Oil on canvas, moisture from wet nose

The inner life of animals captivated Sharon Clarke-Barr, born 1954 in Shopwick-upon-Hardcheese, England. She painted numerous depictions of four-legged creatures reacting to everyday occurrences, the most famous probably being her series on turtles watching people have sex (the turtles were mostly confused but not uninterested). This piece catches the titular family pet in a moment of tremendous crisis: the postman has walked up the steps and is approaching the house with obviously evil intentions. The dog’s pupils are greatly dilated, as if to say, “Go away, Postman. I just came back from the eye doctor and I have to lie down.”

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Portal to Hell” by Nicholette ZeePortal to Hell

Materials: Pipe cleaners, sheep’s blood on canvas

Inspired heavily by the Italian writer Dante, Nicholette Zee imagined the doorway to Satan’s underworld as a tempestuously swirling web of confusion and pain. The bulls-eye design is intended to draw the eye to the center, or what Dante called the “chewy core” of the underworld. As one’s eye follows the spiral outward, one can practically feel the hot breath of Beezelbub whispering all of one’s past misdeeds. Is it too late to atone for your sins? Perhaps even here, at the threshold, the Devil will have mercy. I know you stole my pudding cup, Nick, just admit it.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Palomino Splish-Splash” by Timothy ManwichPalomino Splish-Splash

Materials: Cruelty-free chalk on paper

Timothy Manwich, born 1964 in New Mexico, has spent his entire career painting scenes inspired by the American Southwest of his youth. This piece, he once explained to Bolo Tie Aficionado magazine, came to him in a dream: “I was walking alone and glimpsed the most beautiful wild mare I had ever seen. She beckoned to me as she frolicked in what was either blue grass or very grassy water, it was hard to tell, dreams are weird like that.” Manwich’s upbringing gave him a unique perspective on this subject and the New Mexican terrain, and he can recommend a really good place to get empanadas.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Christopher Smolders” by Billie MataniChristopher Smolders

Materials: Nickelodeon Gak (blue) on a repurposed army cot

Schoolchildren are taught of Columbus and his voyage of 1492. They are not taught, however, of the genocide the followed, and few teachers bother to mention that Columbus did not “discover” anything. Also obscured is the fact that Columbus was hot. Matani, a Harvard-educated historian as well as painter, sought to put Columbus’ striking sexuality front and center. The festive party streamers obscure the great navigator’s face teasingly, as if to say, “Come back to the Pinta, I have plenty of wine.” Matani believed it was morally wrong to teach a skewed version of history to our children, and would tell anyone she met that Magellan had a huge dong.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Jeepers Creepers, Why’d You Touch Me, Peepers?” by Giorgio Lockwood, Jr.Jeepers Creepers, Why’d You Touch Me, Peepers?

Materials: Off-brand markers on typing paper

Those who grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1970s will no doubt rememberPeepers the Cat & Friends, a popular children’s program that taught youngsters how to count, read, and feel blame for their parents’ divorces. Less well-known is the fact that the show’s star, Peepers the Cat, was an insatiable voyeur. Lockwood daringly peels back the curtain to reveal Peepers as he truly was off-screen. The lascivious feline looks hungrily at the vaguely ethnic circus performer, looking to satisfy his most grotesque sexual desires. Peepers was convicted to seven years in prison for gross indecency and his program was immediately cancelled. The syndicated reruns remain popular in France.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian




“Heesa the Hedgehog Queen” by Eva Hiss-FoglerHeesa the Hedgehog Queen

Materials: acrylic, gum wrappers on sandalwood

In the now-extinct civilization of Kundu, a young queen would be crowned every blue moon. One such adolescent monarch, the Great Queen Heesa, ruled for 16 months sometime in the 4th century A.D. Her short reign was remarkably productive: she broke ground on numerous irrigation projects, brokered a land deal with neighboring Qumar, and outlawed all usage of the expression “My bad.” Per tradition, when it was time to give up her spiky crown and ice cream scepter, she cooperated with the peaceful transfer of power, but she privately told everyone the new queen was “kind of a bitch.”

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian
“Ace of Vase” by Darby MitchellAce of Vase

Materials: Watercolors, dubious intentions on parchment

“There is no such thing as quality, only perspective” Mitchell would often say. He made it his goal to break down pre-conceived notions of what is “art,” what is “good,” what “shows any ability whatsoever.” After a long period of painting sad naked clowns, Mitchell moved on to painting much sadder naked clowns, before he decided rendering the colorful outfits was too time-consuming. Flowers became his artistic obsession, though he often forgot to use that little packet of powdered plant food that comes with the flowers and they usually died quickly, forcing him to work fast.  The inspiration for this particular painting came from Safeway, where they have some fairly good deals.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Hungry Like Some Kind of Animal” by Feather HardvaneHungry Like Some Kind of Animal

Materials: Charcoal, mesquite, fake fur on canvas

Too cold even to howl at the moon, this pensive canine stares deep into the eyes of the viewer, begging for a scrap – a scrap of understanding, of peace, of kinship, but also of meat. Notice the ears: almost perfectly symmetrical, and there are two of them, a feature of the artist’s early work. The wolf is wild, impossible to tame, but its feral nature doesn’t totally negate its desire to run with the human pack. Predator, or man’s best friend? It’s hard to say. Who’s a good wolf? He’s a good wolf. Yes he is.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Plane no. 7” by Melissa van der HoffPlane no. 7

Materials: Crayon, red bingo marker, cardboard

The penultimate work in a series depicting modern air travel, van der Hoff was the third best painter of jet fuselages the Netherlands produced in the 1980s. The artist was particularly fascinated by the increasing banality of jet travel; once considered a space-age fantasy, it rapidly became commonplace and the fodder for many highly memorable comedy routines. The last in the series, “Small Bag of Peanuts,” is widely credited with winning her the Nobel Prize.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Adios mis amigo” by Mel GoatsboroughAdios mis amigo

Materials: Oils (mostly peanut), card stock

Christopher Columbus, believing himself to be in India, called the inhabitants of Hispaniola “Indians,” and the name stuck. Goatsborough, believing himself to be in Mexico, had actually just stumbled upon a Latino man wearing a hat and assumed he’d made an impromptu trip south of the border. In fact, he was at home in Des Moines and simply feeling the effects of too much Sudafed, but he knew had had his latest subject. Summoning the pain of a recent loss — his aunt had been struck Radio Flyer driven by a drunk child — he imagined his nuevo amigo mourning in a Catholic graveyard. Grief, the artist knew, is universal. There is some surprisingly good Mexican food in Des Moines. Muy caliente.

–          Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Hotel California” by Ichabod RomanyHotel California

Materials: Oils and sincerity on cardboard
Simplicity is the artist’s friend, both in visual and thematic terms, and the simple, universal message of the romantic hearts coupled with generous amounts of negative space create an effective, almost meditative piece. The hearts took over seven months to create, though the “Hotel California” text was an afterthought based on what had been playing on the radio in the artist’s studio at the time. Don Henley and Glenn Frey were pissed.
– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian
“Daisy Do” by H.R. HaldemanDaisy Do

Materials: Latex paint, plastic Easter grass
Haldeman is best known for having served as Chief of Staff to President Richard M. Nixon. Haldeman held the post from 1969 until 1973, when his role in the Watergate scandal lead to his resignation. Haldeman served 18 months in prison for his role in the break-in and subsequent cover-up. After his release, he had a successful career in business, investing in real estate, restaurants and others. He spent his free time painting shit like this.
– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian





“The Seat of Power, or, Collingswood Manor” by Sabrina O’LawrencegaleThe Seat of Power, or, Collingswood Manor

Materials: Colored chalk and hairspray on paper
O’Lawrencegale’s earlier work dealt directly with family dynamics: the power struggles, betrayals and secret desires bubbling under the surface of even the most perfect of suburban facades. In her later years, she found it much easier to simply depict the outside of the house and let the viewer imagine what was going on inside. She got the idea from those Doonesbury cartoons picturing the outside of the White House. A brilliant stroke, and a true time-saver.
– Spencer Bainbridge, Art Historialogian



“Don’t Mind the Nutters”by Cybil WendrelDon’t Mind the Nutters

Materials: Stark Oil on #9 stock, Reason, Neighborliness
This piece may be recognized as an advertisement for the Friendly Centrist Party that came to powerlessness in England in 1971. The Party was a direct reaction to the intransigence that struck the two main parties of British politics the year prior. Many people, such as Caroline M. Peters of Sussex, and Florian Henderson of Devon, and four other people, banded together and registered the Party under the rallying cry of solving all of society’s problems over a cup of tea. Such advertisements as this one depict “Ms Reasonable”, the Party’s mascot, surrounded by representations of the “Left” and the “Right”, both of whom the ads went on to describe were “a bit too much”.
 — David Cairns, Artologist

“Humpty’s Last Dance” by Tevin TostnerHumpty's Last Dance

Materials: Oil on canvas, okay????
Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm, not even Beatrix motherfucking Potter ever perfected the mix of light and dark present in children’s stories as well as Tevin Tostner. The chiaroscuro world of fairy tales and fables is not for the faint of heart, or certain races, which I won’t name out of politeness. The scene: Humpty Dumpty, upon coming home to find his children slaughtered, halved and pasted to the wall, takes his own life by hanging. Mrs. Dumpty comes home after a late night at the office and makes the grisly discovery. She is sad, but not as sad as she thinks she should be. Kids love this one.
– Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian

“Bradley Whitford Stole My Jacket” by Roman HalpernBradley Whitford Stole My Jacket

Watercolors on off-brand paper towels
Anger isn’t always an untamable force. True red-hot fury can be channelled into remarkable productivity when properly corralled. Halpern, a master of the “Rage Art” trend of the late 1980s, used his everyday murderous distemper to produce works of all-too-rare beauty. His work is considered to be without parallel in its exquisite, simmering passion. He is currently serving two concurrent life sentences in San Quentin.
– Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian

“Leftover$ Again??????” by Roberta BundrickLeftover$ Again??????

Materials: Oils and good intentions on poster board
Could there be a greater ennui — a more profound state of stagnation — than that found in death? Heaven is a place where there is no laughter, as there is no pain from which to escape. Most of those who pass Saint Peter’s gate spend their more eventful evenings watching reruns of “Bones” and reheating last night’s pasta. Hell is true agony, but heaven is worse: it’s a mild disappointment.
– Spencer Bainbridge, Historialogian



“Whoops, a Self-Portrait”by Mendy TavendishWhoops, a Self-Portrait

Materials: oils, canv…
This piece depicts the artist hard at work, painting one of the famously sweeping landscapes of Saxony when, whoops! she’s accidentally painted herself painting the countryside, rather than painting the countryside itself. The artist appears not terribly flummoxed, but more nonplussed and perturbed, as this was a common theme in her work. The most famous examples of this being “Boats on the Chesapeake Oh Darn It Nevermind It’s a Self-Portrait”, “A Field of Flowers Oh Crap Hold On”, and “I Swear to God this Next One is Going to Be a Bowl of Fruit”.
 — David Cairns, Artologist

“What a Nice Day!” by Effi MainzWhat a Nice Day!

Materials: Prozac, Effexor, Cymbalta, Vivactil, lithium
This piece shows a woman carefree, confident, and in control of her own destiny. She’s on top of the world, soaring effortlessly through the skies of her many successes. The balloons challenge but fail to best her personal buoyancy. She’s doing great. She definitely doesn’t have a difficult relationship with her mother. She’s definitely capable of making it through a full day of work without having to hyperventilate in the lady’s restroom. She definitely sleeps soundly, for eight full hours, every single night of the week. She doesn’t have any problems with alcohol. Seriously, I swear, there is no irony in this piece!
 — David Cairns, Artologist

“Last Ride at the Water Park” by Tiffany VeastLast Ride at the Water Park

Created during what Veast playfully refers to as her “PJ Harvey Period”, “Last Ride” is a moody blend of oils on repurposed canvas. For nearly 20 years, critics and artists alike have argued over whether this piece is a statement about body image acceptance or if it’s of a deeper matter. Like all of Veast’s work, this piece contains her trademark “girl with stringy hair”, but unlike the majority of her work, this piece depicts a girl wearing stylish clothing, albeit a bikini. When asked about this piece in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Veast answered, “lol idk :p”.
– Baressa Mertz, Finger-painting Historian

“Geneva Leonardson, 1952” by Richard EmpleGeneva Leonardson, 1952

One of the lesser-known pieces by Emple, a B-side if you will, “Geneva Leonardson” is both tribute to Emple’s longtime crush and the only acknowledgement of the artist’s limited stature. Diagnosed with dwarfism as a mature adult, Emple had lived his life in complete denial of his condition, and had believed himself to be equal with normal people. The real Geneva Leonardson was a waitress at Emple’s favorite cafe, whom Emple courted for several years. After his diagnosis, Emple created “Geneva Leonardson”, capturing his view of Leonardson whilst reconciling with the painful truth of his capacity.
– Meredith Blesser, curator for Tucson Museum of Recent Art