No way. I double check the address scrawled on the printout. It’s the same printout that had directed me to the wrong address the last time I tried to track down Tammi Rae Carland’s An Archive of Feelings show. Cursing the name of Artslant, this time I went right to the source and scribbled down the address from the exhibit’s website. This should be it, the Silverman Gallery’s new digs, but I see a bunch of dresses in the front window. I will not be intimidated by women’s clothing, I’m going in.
This is it. The gallery owner is super cool. Like at Electric Works she offers to answer any questions I might have and then drifts to the back room so I can check out Carland’s stuff.
It would take more self control than I’m able to muster to not proceed directly to the huge print of cassette tapes that hangs on the west wall so I surrender myself to the inevitable.
The work incorporates both the tapes themselves and the cardboard sleeves with track listings. Occasionally they display a unique title given to the mix tape. Try to look at these and not cringe remembering the tapes you used to give to friends. If there is a word that sums them up it is earnest. Man, were we in earnest and it’s a pleasant kind of painful twinge you get recognizing that everyone else spread it around thick too. How deep is our love? asks one title. It answers its own question Deeper than infinity. There’s Hot, Cool, Vicious and Anarky complete with the symbol in lieu of the letter “A.” The Soundtrack to the Revolution kicks off with the unexpected Flash Gordon Theme by Queen. The Ramone’s Judy is a Punk also makes the bill. It ends with the inspired There’s No Business Like Show Business by Ethel Merman. The sight of a Julie Ruin tape makes me want to rush home and listen to the album. The owner later explains that they were all tapes given to Carland by friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and bandmates. The work is meant as a kind of paean to a lost art. Weirdly just a week ago I had gone online and downloaded a bunch of songs that I missed listening to. They were all on a mix tape my friend Mark Henderson had made for me years ago. The playlist is forever fixed by that cassette. In my mind all the tracks will forever be associated with an album that never existed called Songs of Hope and Redemption.
I like Hers & Hers, a photograph of two holstered jars with slitted leather tops for (I assume) dropping in coins. Paper House is also interesting: a photo of a childlike rendition of a house complete with taped together roof and mailbox inscribed right on its front. I could watch the DVD playing on a monitor in the corner all day. Vaguely Dedicated is a selection of dedication pages torn out of books. They range from the mundane “To my parents” to the mysterious “To F…. for September 2nd” to the byzantine “To the vital woman, to whom this text did not know it would lead…” (or at least that’s what I think it said. I had jotted them down on my folded printout and my handwriting proves a little difficult to decipher. To be honest any variation I can think of makes as little sense). And of course, there’s the perennial favorite “To the children.”
Now that the gallery has stopped moving about, you really should get to this exhibit if you can. For now you can enjoy many of the images on artnet while they last.