Vinyl Mysteries of the Caffeine Alphabet opened at the Pannikin in La Jolla this past Saturday night on one of the absolute hottest nights of the summer. In spite of the sweltering heat, I had a great time chatting with the folks who came by to see my first solo show, and I spent most of the night psychoanalyzing my own work (which is oddly therapeutic). Thank you to everyone who dropped by — especially my friends Dawn and Mike who travelled all the way from Los Angeles to provide support. Dawn was extra prepared by bringing a video camera. Early in the afternoon, before the evening reception, I took them on a rambling, stumbling tour of the exhibit, which is captured for posterity on video tape. If I get some good footage I’ll see about posting it here so that more people can laugh at my bad socks.
Amanda and Renee, the owners of the Pannikin were really great, giving me free reign of the gallery space to sort of transform their coffee shop into a retro-inspired vinyl wonderland of LP covers, tin robots and wooden blocks. You can see pictures of the framed pieces and the installation here. But just in case you don’t want to bother with a link, how about a couple of quick snapshots?
Okay, this gives you a nice, general idea of how the show was setup. Oh! But first, allow me to thank my fine assistants — Lin, Jo Anna, Vince and Gunnar — all of whom helped me get everything hung on Friday night (when the temperature threatened to melt the tin from around the sturdy bodies of my robot brigade). Kudos, gold stars and much appreciated thanks for their role in making my show look really great!
On to a little “Gallery Setup Analysis,” so I can point out a few things about how the show was hung. First, in the upper right corner of the above photo you get a peek at the installation that rimmed the main room of the Pannikin (and throughout). The inside of Pannikin is an old, converted bungalow, and the main room is the original living room of the house, featuring a book rail that hangs a foot or so from the low ceiling. Normally, the rail is packed with old books, games, and assorted coffee pots and antique collectables. All the books and games were taken down so that I could line the shelves with vintage, cheesecake-ish, record albums from the 50’s and 60’s, though I chose to leave the coffee pots on one side of the gallery because I thought they complemented the installation quite well. In front of the records I set up robots and wooden blocks, which were used to spell various phrases.
Above: P-H-O-T-O A-T-O-M-I-C S-H-A-K-E-D-O-W-N. All told, I think there are around 300 or so blocks in the exhibit.
First up… how about those frames? As always, every piece in the show was matched with a custom frame chosen to fit the mood and style of the photo. In this case, it’s a gleaming gold frame with an inward cast to emphasize the glitz of a Hollywood awards show. Framing costs for the show set me into bankruptcy, but what price art, ya know? Above the frame you see a pair of wooden blocks “13” which match up to the titles and prices on the art works sheet for the exhibit. We went through a lot of putty Friday night… which I hope holds up under the hot month of September! Over the weekend I stopped into the gallery a couple of times and none of the blocks had fallen off the wall and into someone’s latte, but I still took the opportunity to press them all firmly into place.
To the right of each piece we mounted the show title cards, which were custom made for the exhibit. The tags are mounted onto recordable CDs that mimic retro vinyl records — grooves and everything! (Thanks to Kristy D. for the tip on finding these specialized boutique recordable CDs.)
I prepared a set of “coffee robots” for the exhibit that were placed in various places standing guard over the artful proceedings. Here’s a close up of the coffee robot in the above picture, along with a tower of blocks.
I liked the image of tin robots emerging from a cup of coffee beans, an element featured in the title piece for the show, and repeated with these simple miniature sculptures.
I provided pretty simple “opening reception dining fare” for all my guests — wine, water, juice and chocolate — served from atop and within vintage record players.
Yum! There were also stickers on hand with images of the featured piece — The magnificent minds of medicine gather round to examine Nastasscia from the inside out — which (in a spectacular stacked frame) was definitely the hit of the evening!
Hmmm… actually, on second thought, the most popular hit of the evening were my business cards. So good that no one could take just one. With nine different designs and each a mini work of art, most people opted for a generous collection, and I was very happy to oblige.
I hope you have a chance to visit the Pannikin to take in the show in person, sit down, have a bite to eat and enjoy their fabulous coffee. The exhibit will be up through the month of September. Have fun!!