Pee-wee’s Playhouse… Salvation Mountain… Disneyland… Instagram… edible make-up… cartoon adverts… stop-motion cigarette-smoking stilettos… plastic… plastic… plastic! All shiny anecdotes welcoming us and referenced in the land of The Seth Bogart Show. A world where mundane plasticity, whimsical ‘tantazy’ and fictional consumer products— from Legg’s control top ‘Mantyhose’ to plastic surgery for high heels— are available and very much alive in an animated membrane of painted screens.
The show’s press release itself reads as a comical sitcom between our flamboyant host Seth Bogart in conversation with designer Peggy Noland. The latter’s aesthetic eclecticism noted for her superior taste in mixing ‘white trash’ with ‘high class’— an artistry easily adapted to Bogart’s synthesis of pop meets punk in a visual cacophony where John Waters meets Henri Matisse (a cursive ‘Bogart’ obsessively stamps nearly every surface)… where Rose Eken sculpts RuPaul’s Drag Race… where Katherine Bernhardt paints funhouses for Paul Reubens… a hybridized Store where Claes Oldenburg features club wear. A precursor for and inspired by Bogart’s upcoming solo album— the musician formerly known as Hunx (of Hunx and His Punx)— The Seth Bogart Show is a timeless mash-up; one melding the artist’s beauty industry past with an intrinsic, lyrical OCD.
’40 person max occupancy’ passes in glance as we descend upon the most silly, pink, and transformative womb to occupy 356 Mission’s basement gallery. A jagged-toothed grimacing frame opens to the constructed wonderland that is The Seth Bogart Show. Center stage is Compactie, a massive bat-eyed, red-lipped paper mache compact we catch Bogart emerging from in the video Eating Make-Up, one of many collaborative videos made with analog connoisseur JJ Stratford. ‘Everybody’s eating make-up,’ a glitter-lid Peggy Noland and Tina Stormberg (co-founder of former retail relic The Dog Show) sing as a latex-suited Bogart emerges like a mermaid from the over-sized cosmetic, temperamental clam— golden cuts like this echoing the dry-iced, fashionable narcissism of 80’s music videos from new-wave pop icons like Lio or Poeme Electronique.
A beauty salon… a TV show… an album teaser… a retail store-gone-art installation for entering Bogart’s wacky fantasies and creative oeuvre. It’s hard to imagine how effective these individual works would be if standing on their own, but that seems to hardly be a relevant concern here. Bogart is a performer who directs immersive experiences for our entertainment and visual pleasure— he stars and stages spectacles of totality— one where he doesn’t take himself too seriously and restores what is too often lost in manifestations and intellectualizations considering the salon of contemporary aesthetics: FUN.
All photos © 356 Mission and Suzy Poling and WOAH
continued from Curate LA: Oct 1-6