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Indepth Arts News:

"Peter Gallo: Goodbye Picasso"
2005-11-01 until 2005-12-03
Freight and Volume
New York, NY, USA United States of America

As suggested by the show’s title, lifted from David Douglas Duncan’s book by the same name, “Goodbye Picasso” underlines a basic principle of Gallo’s practice: a punk-rock attitude towards cultural authority. For example, a copy of Duncans photo essay on Picassos twilight years at his 15th century chateau at Vauvenargues (a book given to Gallo by his parents on his 14th birthday) is transformed is into a drawing surface upon which the artist erases the eyes. Drawing from a wide range of texts and images, Gallos utilizes simple formal structures and gestures - channeled through an exquisitely lyrical aesthetic sensibility - in an often frank and confrontational fashion.

In the tradition of punk, neo-punk, Lettrism and Situationism, Gallo steals the words and images of others for his own ends; snippets from Roland Barthes, Freud, Mondrian, Tony Shafrazis famous vandalisation of Guernica (Kill All Lies), and queer pornography – all turn up on occasion, mixed in with lyrics gleaned from Gallos favorite music: The Cocteau Twins, Dusty Springfield, The Magnetic Fields, or Joy Division (Gallo is a Joy Division diehard). Yet, for all its critical or confrontational energy, Gallos seemingly apathetic scrawl or brushstroke across a found object or yard sale painting conveys something ultimately profound and positive, including his own abiding love for Modernist painting.

James Yood in Artforum writes: Peter Gallo has all the (slow) moves of a neoslacker: an apparent disdain for materials; an alert scavengers attitude toward culture; an eye for the poignant frailties of the vernacular; and an occasionally breath-taking ability to evoke issues of great import… A partial inventory of Gallos materials would include dental floss, toothpicks, a towel, string, wire, French vermilion oil paint, buttons, toilet paper, spackle, bric-a-brac, a bed sheet, picture frames, amateur sculptures, and patterned fabrics. These are usually mixed with snippets of found text or references…that allude to the likes of Spengler, Nietzsche, Kant, Pasolini, and Mondrian…He adjusts his raw materials just enough to allow them to speak more clearly, either of themselves or of his response to them.

Robert Buyeye in dytrtmnt writes: Gallo does not decide in advance nor impose an order on what he writes or draws…To finish is fatal, because one never finishes, and if one does, it is inevitably wrong, incomplete, insufficient, unclear. In his practice Gallo reaches a resolution of sorts that, no matter how momentary it might be, is the conclusion his art reaches in the face of the ineffable. His intelligence is like that of an athlete. What Gallo does is determined at any moment by the situation; he does what needs to be done.

Peter Gallo lives and works in Hyde Park, Vermont. He has had solo shows at White Columns (White Room), New York (2005) and the Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago (2004). Gallo is a doctoral candidate in art history at Concordia University in Montreal, where he is authoring, “Medicalisation and its Discontents: The Artist as Case History.” He also works as a psychiatric social worker in a rural health care agency in Northern Vermont, and is a member of the Grass Roots Art and Community Efforts (GRACE) in Hardwick, Vermont. In addition, he has organized numerous exhibitions and has contributed criticism to Art in America and Art New England, among others. His work has recently been discussed in the New York Times, Artforum and Art in America.

In the project space: Ludwig Schwarz offers a second installment of the easily transportable “Untitled (Travelogue 8), ed. 2/4,” which was seen in a one-night only exhibition last month. Now divested from the chaos of the gallery’s unfinished walls, electrical cords, and raw atmosphere, seven of the eight paintings central to the installation will remain neatly packaged in their wooden crate in the corner of the room, with one painting emerging each day to be displayed on the wall. In addition, a new video, Untitled (Zombies) will accompany the crate of paintings.

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