GABRIEL COHEN: FIRST SEPARATION MEDITATION || SLIPPERS

2601 Pasadena Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Jun 23, 7 PM - 10 PM — ends Jul 21, 2019
Gabe asked me what I thought and I said, “Well, the bird’s in the middle of the picture, and the picture’s in the middle of the frame.” We laughed, but he wanted more. I started rambling in a faux-serious put-on about formalities and feathers and feelings until I hit a point in which I couldn’t keep up the charade, right around when I said “bullseyes.” Couldn’t keep it up, not because I was bored of it, but because the ‘just-go-for-it’ joking tone had landed on something real and serious, denying an opening for easy laughter. As I think, now, about bullseyes, it occurs to me that that moment of pause—when a ‘haha just go for it, just try it, why not?’ turns into something serious—seems to be an important moment in Gabe’s general practice. A new material, image, song, text, or — in this case — space, leads to an impulsive attempt at making. “Wouldn’t it be goofy?” “What if I just put that there?” And so on. But “goofy” thoughts let you make new decisions, many of which are bad, of course, but some of which make you pause, reconsider, and ask you to look at the seriousness that has trojan-horsed through.



But, back to bullseyes (our central point — haha). The bird, I decided, was in the middle of the picture, in the middle of the frame; central in the way a bullseye is central—where hitting (or looking at) the middle is preparing for death, just as looking at the image of a dead bird (pulled out of the steel shelf of a flat file, morgue-like even) makes you think on your own death, if you let the goofy incongruity of a massive frame become the seriousness of a massive frame; calling attention to the bird in the middle of the image—Look at me! There is something here!



We talked more about bullseyes and guns and death (Gabe talks, thinks, and makes a lot about death — it need not be a morbid subject). We talked about school shootings and the preparation that goes into them (always more than necessary, more guns than anyone could carry, more bullets than one could ever shoot, so on). A book on mass shootings, Why not kill them all?, had been floating around the studio; last night I got off the metro and there was an ad for “Active Shooter Insurance;” we were turning around in the movie theater. I was thinking about birds. Gabe made me think about birds. And now I am thinking about a dead bird, in the middle of a picture, in the middle of a frame, inside of a flat file and the saddest thought is that the bird’s death was almost certainly not from anything exciting, anything that would put your name in the papers. The bird probably had a heart attack. Birds have heart attacks all the time. They fall mid-flight and land on a sidewalk for you to see and for you to think about.


There are four other images, in four other flat-file morgue-drawers, inside of a wall, inside of Queens LA, and you can see them from (insert exhibition dates here), but someone else has to write those autopsies.

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Slippers on your feet--pink, tan, white bunny eared or terry-clothed. A soft second skin covers and outlines the body.

QUEENS presents Slippers, a group exhibition featuring artwork by Amy Adler, Vanessa Conte, En Plein Error, David Gilbert, Joshua Ross, and Ari Salka. The exhibition focuses on figurative works on paper of bodies from highly-rendered to looser scribbles: images of bodies slipping between action or shape. A fragment of clothing slides off an arm, a decaying figure peers through a draped curtain, bodies become part of their landscape, and faces are formed or fall away into formlessness.