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Teacher’s Pet

Gavin Brown's Enterprise at Passerby
436 West 15th Street, 212-206-7321
Chelsea
June 2 - June 30, 2007


CURATED BY ROB PRUITT MY 5 FAVORITE STUDENTS FROM SPRING SEMESTER ‘07

Max Kuller / Thomas Debari / Rebecca Johnson / Bradley Chriss / David Waddell

Teacher’s Pet is a group show of my 5 favorite grad students from this last semester at American U. I guess the show is my graduation present to them, and a consolation gift for not really teaching them anything. After all, you can’t really teach anyone to be an artist. So what I do is basically share practical information, like how I got into my first group show by sending Colin Deland love letters, and how you can get the entire art world to love you by giving them free coke. Anyway, I thought I was doing pretty good on my first day at school, but then the head of the department called me into his office to tell me that some of the students were complaining about me and wanted me fired. Abbreviated scenes become a preoccupation, unfinished thoughts run on repeat and their marks become trails, leaving the viewer to anticipate the next gesture. By constantly interrupting the narrative structure and repeatedly rupturing moments of recognition, the underlying tensions begin to unfold.

But then some of the kids I really connected with—and those others, there work sucked anyway. With Max, Brad, Tom, Becca and David, I made a real connection. It was like the cordial Bloomsbury group or those Cedar tavern hot heads. We became friends, confidants, drinking buddies, had slumber parties, braided each others hair, .....

When I first walked into Max’s apartment I was totally blown away—it looked like a bombed out dollar store, with floor to ceiling store shelving fully stocked with dollar store merchandise. For this show Max has installed a section of his apartment.

Brad makes work as if his hand were a paintbrush, like Rose McGowan’s machine gun leg in Grindhouse. Lines like never ending ribbons filling volumes of sketch books and coving walls depict scenes of necrophilic orgies. Tom is a sports fanatic and in his work he makes basketball seem like religion. In large scale wall murals, he rhymes images of high jump flight with soaring angles from the Sistine chapel. Becca turns social hierarchies upside down, creating a gothic fairytale world of castoffs and misfits. In this exhibition she shows beautifully hand crafted dolls that defy anatomical norms. David is a video maker and sculptor who makes charming stop action shorts. With junk from thrift shops, dolls, glitter and pop songs, he crafts full on Hollywood epics—only they’re presented on ipods, last about 3 minutes and costing nothing to make. So these are my pets. I hope everyone shows up with checkbooks because you’ll be able to buy the work cheaply and these kids are the stars of tomorrow!

—-Rob Pruitt

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