Chris Beauregard, 2013 (Photo: Travis Snyder)
Brandon Boan, 2013 (Photo: Jason Cohn)
Apartment Event #11: Chris Beauregard and Brandon Boan
Recently the 2013 Carnegie International apartment hosted an evening of experimentation by Chris Beauregard and Brandon Boan. Both artists are know in Pittsburgh primarily as sculptors; Boan for his contribution to the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial of curious casts exploring interstitial spaces and detritus found in the basement of the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Beauregard for his 2012 solo show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, which presented carefully rendered yet violently toned objects intertwining themes of Italian Futurism, Gialo, and Cult Cinema. Recently Beauregard and Boan have been attending to the intersections between object making and performance, and their new work for this event presented two different approaches to sculptural gestures of accumulation.
Entering the apartment visitors were met by Boan, dapper in a three-piece suit and wielding an enormous old CU-5 Polaroid camera, originally used for forensic and fingerprint photography. Boan politely asked that each person through the door present their teeth for documentation, and the resulting polaroids were beamed on to the 44th street-facing windows using an opaque projector. Any American with dental insurance (or without, as is more often the case) can attest to the fact that showing one’s teeth is not the same as smiling. This became ever more apparent over the course of the evening as the accumulating grins came to resemble a manically held group rictus and Boan’s collection revealed itself to be a sinister study of social nicety; mobile vulgus.
In the kitchen, Chris Beauregard worked over a small high-powered stove, cooking up batches of sugar, corn syrup, and red food dye; a mixture that, when heated to extreme temperatures becomes glass candy, and also happens to be the same recipe commonly used to make fake blood in films (a fact that he has employed in past work, such as Bloody Axis, 2012). In a gesture recalling Richard Serra’s early lead toss works, once the blood/candy had reached a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit, Beauregard used a large steel ladle to hurl it into a bucket of ice cold water, where it instantly hardened. The resulting forms were gingerly removed from the bucket and placed on a light table to be admired and sampled by visitors. These organically vulgar, delicately filigreed compositions of freeze-framed blood splatter captured the explosive moment in a film when the squib (a small explosive pouched used to simulate gunshot wounds) is deployed.
Apartment Event #12: Mark Dion and Columbia University MFAs
Another recent apartment event brought together MFA students from both Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and New York’s Columbia University for an evening of pizza, beer, and artist presentations. The Columbians had come to town on a field trip with their mentor Mark Dion—an alumnus of the 99/00 Carnegie International and a resident of southeastern Pennsylvania, where he and his family make their home at Mildred’s Lane, a “contemporary art complex(ity)” in the upper Delaware River Valley. The next morning, after a few church sales and a hearty breakfast at the Quiet Storm, we took a tour of the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Dion was eager to show his mentees the unique institutional model that houses such distinct elements as a collection of gems and minerals under the same roof as a gallery of Renaissance painting. What a gem!