ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN LIP SERVICE WEB MAGAZINE
Sometimes, you just have to go to 11.
This, of course, is Standard Operating Procedure at Studio Servitù. One knows there is no predicting what awaits inside. The only way to go into a Servitù event is ready to be dazzled and debauched and let the wicked scheming of Jane Jett and Miss Crash take over.
September’s Nick Kushner exhibit opened the door and gave us a peek into his creative world. With 11.11.11, Servitù took us further down the rabbit hole to explore the minds of three artists. Along with Kushner, the new show also encompassed works of two fellow Manson collaborators, photographer (and writer/filmmaker) Anthony Silva and “Coolest Magician on Earth” Rudy Coby. The unique friendship and mutual inspiration the artists share was the soul of Servitù’s group exhibition, “The Stars Are Maligned”.
The pre-event titillation began mere moments after the last of the lingering crowds made their way out of the 9.10.11 Kushner show. Like the consummately expert teases Crash and Jane are, just a whiff of suggestion was all that was granted. For two months, the speculation raged on in blogs, discussion forums, and social media. But the ladies of Servitù were not going to give us our treat until they were good and ready. Every tiny iota of revelation was examined, dissected for any and all possible clues. Watching the anticipation grow and spread was delicious.
After a build-up like that, the natural question which springs to mind is: Was the pay-off worth the mystery? The resounding answer from virtually all corners of the LA creative underground? HELL YES!
Those who regularly read the Webzine’s monthly love notes to degeneracy (in Lip SerVICES) have witnessed the goings-on at Studio Servitù, even before the doors officially opened. It is, avoiding the more often-used superlative terms, home turf, a salon and clubhouse for many LA artists, performers and creators. But, with the latest gallery event, it’s clear we OG Servitù regulars will need to learn to share.
The club has, apparently, gained quite a lot of new members.
The instant the freight elevator door opened, one was immediately struck by the hum of the crowd filling the long, candle-lit hallway. Hum gave way to buzz on approaching the studio, backed up by (an excellent mix of) music. Once entering, the excitement was contagious.
As in the Kushner opening, the space was set up with an ideal mix of display and social area. Despite a constant flow of impressive crowds throughout the night, it was never difficult to view the artwork or hear conversation. So many venues lately use volume as a faux-buzz crutch, blasting music so one doesn’t have a chance to notice there’s nothing much to talk about. It’s nice to see Servitù buck that trend and give their guests plenty of interesting eye and brain candy and the right atmosphere to talk about it.
Immediately, one could note the parallel of the contrasting, yet complementary character of the works and their artists with the diversity of those who came out to enjoy them. There was some commonality but, for the most part, it was a rather dizzying array of LA nightcrawlers. People-watching was at its most intriguing.
Let’s put it this way: Attendees of 11.11.11 rubbed elbows with both Marilyn Manson and Janice Dickinson. That seemingly polar-opposite pairing sums up the unusual black to grey to white spectrum quite well, yet everyone seemed to feel at home. Some sort of alchemy was certainly at play.
Reviewing the artists’ works, the strange harmony made perfect sense.
One could attempt to read discord in comparing the maniacal whimsy of a Rudy Coby video to the brooding intensity of a Nick Kushner painting or sultry creepiness of an Anthony Silva photograph. Yet, they blended seamlessly, displayed to let the viewer experience little tastes of each as they took in different areas of the exhibit. One was reminded of fine dining restaurants, where a tasting menu is considered the ultimate experience of complete enjoyment. Like the best tasting menu, there was a subtle commonality tying the threads of ideas together to make for a more satisfying visual feast.
At their root, all three artists’ works challenge us to not just reconsider our perceptions, but overhaul how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. They tempt us to look deeper for the surreal lurking beneath the fragile shell of accepted reality. They embrace the constancy of the the dark and celebrate the nobility of the profane. One feels as if they’re witnessing something deeply personal and private in the collected works. It’s almost as if we’re seeing things we know we shouldn’t, yet can’t bring ourselves to look away. Coby, Kushner, and Silva, in their group effort, offered more than a glimpse into themselves; they invited us to take a leisurely stroll around their psyches. What we found was neither sanity nor madness, but a place where they mesh as comfortably as the art on display and its creators.
As in any good bit of alchemy, each component was made stronger and more precious when combined as a whole.
Though there is no way to recreate the chemistry of the opening night, the online preview gallery is definitely worth taking in. The exhibit collection, including works by Nick Kushner and Anthony Silva can be found on the Servitù Gallery page. Those interested in purchasing any of the pieces on display can arrange a private showing by contacting Studio Servitù.
Thank you to Jane and Crash of Studio Servitù for another great night of eye candy and brain food. Thanks, as well, to Rudy Coby, Nick Kushner, and Anthony Silva for an exceptional collection of art works. And, thanks to Joe Berhosky for being on hand to capture the glorious debauchery as it happened.
And, of course, special thanks to Lip Service for having the fabulously good taste to be a sponsor.