“God Made Man, But He Used a Monkey to Do it.” – Devo
On the eve of recession, in the face of tradition, and in the spirit of “why the hell not?” Broadway Gallery proudly presents BETTER BEASTS, an art offering curated by Thomas Seely and Gerald Edwards III. For two weeks only, we invite you to come marvel at the creations of the planet’s most volatile animal. From February 1st-15th six artists present eclectic investigations of Man’s relationship to commerce, nature and creativity while touching on themes ranging from modern myths to the human tendency to play God. Video, found photographs, rogue taxidermy, painting and installation make up this group show featuring: subversive plastic crowns, men pointing at rifles, a mouse sewn onto a rabbit, the motivating sip of a blended drink, the myth of progress, and the protective eye of the Blue Marlin. With deep fried confidence BETTER BEASTS concludes definitively that “God made Man, but he used a monkey to do it.”
Chiken Coop formed in 2005 between friends with a similar creative aesthetic and sense of humor. Members contributing to Better Beasts include Alex Coyle, originally from Dallas, who plays music under the name Verdun; Ben Harrison, also from Texas but now living in Accra, Ghana and working as an archivist; and Joel Withrow, a writer and editor for Flavorpill Productions in New York. The Coop enjoys hanging out and being casual together. Other focuses include hard sales, figurines, Italo Disco, stock options, collage, and public-access television.
Brooklyn artist Nate Hill sees dead animals—and turns them into art. On any given night in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Nate Hill can be seen going through the garbage looking for “art supplies.” Nate leads the Chinatown Garbage Taxidermy Tour, produces a monthly show on YouTube, and blogs a rewrite of the Bible. This may sound like a lot, but all of his art work spurs from one obsession: to be more like God. Nate Hill lives and works in Brooklyn.
Leslie Grant is a photographer interested in everyday images and the way they impact our lives. The Pointing Series is a collection of imagery she has gathered from various sources, including old magazines, historical publications, and thrift stores. She is drawn to pointing pictures because of the way they are at once decisive and ambiguous. Her other collections include Handshakes and Dancing. She is also currently working on “The Forestry Project,” collaboration with photographer Al Bersch and forestry and logging workers in Fernie, BC. She teaches at Parsons The New School for Design and is co-founder and co-curator of Grotto Gallerie, an artist-run rotating exhibition space. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
John Kilduff is the host of Let’s Paint TV, a Los Angeles based cable access show that is also seen in London and New York. John has performed on the Tyra Banks show, VH1, and painted David Hasselhoff’s portrait on America’s Got Talent. He is currently earning his MFA from UCLA.
David McBride makes paintings that work on thematic and formal levels to historicize the medium-based avant-garde. Using tropes made significant by the American critical avant-garde, McBride’s paintings suggest the mythologies that determine prevailing notions of advanced art. Dominant critical definitions of painting and photography, themselves functions of the privileged term “medium”, begin to appear as thin representations whose objects are conditioned by the myth of progress. David earned his MFA in painting at Hunter College in 2005. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
VBPA are a New York and Florida based collective. For Better Beasts they present The Insider, a narrative performance and installation based on Bill, a “True Renaissance Man bridging the Age of American High Imperialism.” For the duration of the show Bill will be subletting an office space inside the gallery where he will be holding book signings and offering “special limited-time only Craigslist deals and mad hot breakout sessions” to gallery visitors.