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Downtown Gallery Crawl January 2018

I went downtown for the gallery crawl on January 26th. I never know when these downtown gallery crawls happen usually, so it was a surprise to find out about this one way in advance. Soon after I heard about the gallery crawl, I also was informed about a band playing down there, so I figured I would check that out.


The band is called Today is the Best Day Ever, a name that I think is way too long and kind of weird, however it is kind of cute. I will say, "Guys, you should probably capitalize the word "is" in yr band name, as it is a verb and not a preposition or article," but, well, it's not my band. Anyway, Today is the Best Day Ever is an emo/indie rock band similar to Shin Guard, who I reviewed last time. Don't worry, this still isn't really a genre I like. However, despite being curmudgeonly against these types of things, the band was okay. They kind of do that sing-song singing that I hate. The instruments are fine. Most interesting to me, in a way, was that most of the lyrics seem to be about drug overdoses and suicide attempts. I was able to read some of them, as they were hung up on the walls of Future Tenant. The band even made a clear statement about the importance of mental health and getting help, which I found very commendable.

I met up with some friends soon after. We tried to go to CAPA, a performing arts school that was participating in the gallery crawl, but a security guard said that it was closed. We were there later in the evening. Instead, we went to the Wood Street Galleries.

After climbing many steps and being a little confused, we saw part of an eerie movie playing upstairs. As I entered the room, I felt very vulnerable, all these people in the darkness staring my way. They were actually watching the film; it was nearly impossible to see people entering the room. The film showed outlines of various subjects, such as animals and people, morphing into other things. One of the scenes particularly showed a crowd, which makes me think that the setup was intentional. Perhaps the goal was to illustrate a feeling of depersonalization and isolation within a group. I hope to go back soon and see the whole film.

Finally, we went to Space, another gallery basically across the street. I really like this gallery; I like the setup, and I think they bring in interesting art. It also reminds me of seeing Carsickness with all of the early Pittsburgh punk stuff. That was really a great show.

Emilie Stark-Menneg

Paul Mullins

Surya Gied

Jenson Leonard

Jason LaCroix

Devan Shimoyama

Thad Kellstadt

This show was a bit different. It was mostly paintings and created by seven different artists. They each had their own style that was very distinguishable from the others. I really enjoyed Surya Gied's  paintings that suggested the shapes of crowds. Emilie Stark-Menneg has a whimsical, soft style that is somewhat off-putting at first but something I like a lot actually. Thad Kellstadt's shelves also had an element of whimsy to them with more bright colors and odd shapes like a cartoon from the 1960s. And I loved the patterns of Jason LaCroix with their repetition and colors. I have mixed feelings about Jenson Leonard's display of collages showing various internet memes juxtaposed together with other pop culture pieces. I think it's kind of cool because it is itself kind of what a meme is except used in a fine art way. It's very relevant to current trends. I hate memes though. I'm just neutral towards Paul Mullins' body parts collages. I feel like they lack focus. Devon Shimoyama seemed to have the main area of interest with their own small room. These pieces, with their figure of a purple man with a quiff, made me think of Prince.

According to Lissa Brennan of the City Paper, who did a much more in-depth review of this show, the curator had written something about how the paintings "present a working duration that attempts to respond to the surface of things.” I don't think this statement is totally bogus, but it is very vague. I didn't even see this statement, as there was so much to look at and so many people in the gallery that I felt a bit overwhelmed. I think the most unifying aspect of this show was the overall use of bright colors and tendency towards somewhat scrambled images, either displayed through a, so to speak, soft filter or through a more literal jumble of objects or pictures.

I stayed downtown with my friends for a bit, but it started to get really cold. Instead of sticking around, hanging out, I decided to go home and think about the show and finish some work. I hope to make it out to one of these again.

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