Shaggy Dog Stories
Shaggy Dog Stories and Other TalesJanuary 5 - March 23, 2019
Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA
Kate Berlant and Natalie Labriola
K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood
In comedy, literature, and film, the term “shaggy dog story” refers to a tale or joke that is absurd and anti-climactic, challenging the conventions of traditional narration. While the story appears headed toward a major apex, it stops short of getting there, leaving the listener jolted by what they just heard. The artists in Shaggy Dog Stories and Other Tales make use of similar strategies, creating works that combine humor with a sense of criticality. Encompassing a range of media — including sculpture, photography, installation, and video — their various projects oscillate between the strange and familiar.
On view in the exhibition are two performative video pieces — Kate Berlant and Natalie Labriola’s Satellite Space(2014) and Wynne Greenwood and K8 Hardy’s New Report (2005). Using deadpan humor and absurdist gestures, each video mocks a workplace scenario — a futuristic yoga ball sales office in Satellite Space and a feminist newsroom in New Report. While entertaining in nature, the video’s characters and their stories contain much more complex layers. The Smudge, a monthly newspaper published by Tan & Loose Press, includes writing and illustrations by a dynamic group of guest contributors. Ranging in tone from critical to comedic, it offers readers an alternative voice on current issues, concerns, and events.
Artists Josh Callaghan, Roni Shneior, and Alake Shiling present sculptural works that play with fantasy and the uncanny. Callaghan’s larger-than-life Two Dollar Umbrella (2012) is a massive, broken umbrella structure, bringing humor to this relatable minor tragedy. Shneior and Shiling’s works in ceramic offer surreal representations of animals, bodies, and hybrid creatures, evoking a range of emotional and psychological states. Bark Zemer’s photographs turn our attention to moments of the mundane, highlighting the constructed or bizarre spectacle within the image. In Cake (2018), the artist continues his series depicting grocery store items, comically staging a pink cake to appear as if it were floating, but making visible the strings that keep it in the air.
As alternative comedy has come to be more embraced in popular culture, marking a growing self-awareness in our society, we find many of these tropes employed in contemporary art-making as well. The artists in Shaggy Dog Stories and Other Tales employ irony, surrealism, and absurdist narrative structures in their work, as a way to resituate the viewer and incite new perspectives.
About the artists:
Kate Berlant (b. 1987, Los Angeles, CA) is an actor, stand-up comedian, and writer. Berlant frequently tours North America, performing at festivals including Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, Festival Supreme, SXSW, Treasure Island Music Festival, the New York Comedy Festival, and Montreal’s Just for Laughs. She has received critical praise for her performances, and was profiled by The New York Times as a “magnetic improvisational comic” at the forefront of experimental comedy. She recently wrapped pilots for Comedy Central, TBS and TruTV and can be seen on Comedy Central’s The Meltdown, Viceland’s Flop House, and SeeSo’s UCB Show. She voices several characters on HBO’s Animals as well as Netflix’s Bojack Horseman. She wrote, executive produced, and starred in her own episode of Netflix’s original series The Characters. She also wrote and starred in an original Vimeo series along with John Early and director Andy DeYoung called 555. Berlant has a residency with her show “Communikate” at UCB Franklin in Los Angeles.
Josh Callaghan (b. 1969, Doylestown, PA) is an artist based in Los Angeles, CA. He holds an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He has had solo exhibitions at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Harmony Murphy Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Royale Projects, Palm Desert, CA; Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA; and Haas & Fischer Gallery, Zurich, CH. He has been in numerous group exhibitions, at venues such as Arturo Bandini at Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX; 356 Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA; Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NY; Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; Greider Contemporary, Zurich, CH; and Galleria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, BR. In 2016, Callaghan participated in the inaugural Los Angeles public art biennial, Current LA:Water. He currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA.
Wynne Greenwood (b. 1977, Seattle, WA) is an artist based in Seattle, WA. She received an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions, at times in collaboration with Fawn Krieger and K8 Hardy, at the New Museum, New York, NY; Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles; CA; Hayward Gallery, London, UK; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Reena Spaulings, New York, NY; Foxy Productions, New York, NY; and The Kitchen, New York, NY. Greenwood’s performances, installations, and object-based works have been shown internationally including during the 2004 Whitney Biennial and the 2009 Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art. From 1999–2006, Greenwood performed in the celebrated multimedia art band Tracy + the Plastics.
K8 Hardy (b. 1977, Fort Worth, TX) is an artist and video director based in New York, NY. She holds a BA from Smith College, studied at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and holds an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Hardy is a founding member of the queer feminist journal and artist collective LTTR, and has directed music videos for groups including Le Tigre, Lesbians on Ecstasy, and Men. She has exhibited and performed internationally at venues including, MoMA PS1, New York NY; Artists Space, New York, NY; The Tate Modern, London, UK; and Galerie Sonja Junkers, Munich, DE. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
Natalie Labriola (b. 1987, Mesa, AZ) is an artist based in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and a BFA from New York University. Labriola had solo exhibitions at Shoot the Lobster, Los Angeles, CA and Grey Art Gallery, New York, NY. She has exhibited in numerous group shows at spaces including Bureau, New York, NY; Cleopatra’s, New York, NY; Nicelle Beauchene, New York, NY; Michael Thibault, Los Angeles, CA; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA; and FASTNET, Brooklyn, NY. From 2012 to 2015 she ran a temporary exhibition space called Satellite Space out of a commercial office building in Los Angeles, CA. She is currently working on an artist-designed clothing line and journal called Talis.
Alake Shilling (b. 1993, Los Angeles, CA) is an artist based in Los Angeles, CA. She has had solo exhibitions at 356 Mission, Los Angeles, CA and No Place Gallery, Columbus, OH. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at spaces such as Loyal Gallery, Stockholm, SE; Josh Lilley, London, UK; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Unclebrother, Hancock, NY; Karma International, Los Angeles, CA; and Steve Turner, Los Angeles, CA.
Roni Shneior (b. 1980 Cabri, Israel) is an artist based in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA from the Benzalel Academy of Arts and Design in Tel Aviv, Israel. Shneoir has had solo and two-person exhibitions at venues including Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; JOAN, Los Angeles, CA; The Finley, Los Angeles, CA; and Chin’s Push, Los Angeles, CA. She has participated in multiple group exhibitions at galleries and institutions including Arturo Bandini, Los Angeles, CA; Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA; Magenta Plains, New York, NY; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX; and the Uri & Rami Nehoshtan Museum, IL, among others.
The Smudge is a monthly newspaper by Tan & Loose Press, an independent publisher of limited edition artists prints and zines based in Los Angeles, CA. It was started in January 2017, and is edited by Clay Hickson and Liana Jegers. In the spirit of the underground and alternative presses of the 60’s and 70’s, The Smudge offers a unique perspective on issues that affect us all. Proceeds from each month’s issue are donated to various charitable organizations and advocacy groups, including Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Everytown for Gun Safety.
Barak Zemer (b. 1979, Jerusalem, Israel) is an artist currently based in Los Angeles, CA. He received his MFA from USC Roski School of Art and Design in 2013 and his BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. He has had solo exhibitions at spaces including Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; CEPA Gallery, Buffalo, NY; AWHRHWAR, Los Angeles, CA; and ltd, Los Angeles, CA, among others. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in venues including Altman Siegel, San Francisco, CA; International Photography Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX; Fusedspace, San Francisco, CA; JOAN, Los Angeles, CA;and the Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel. Zemer is currently a senior lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA.
Barak Zemer, Mushroom, 2015
Inkjet print on archival paper
63 x 42 inches
Roni Shneior, Old Man, Potato Head, Swallow I, Swallow II, 2018
Ceramic, glass jar with pickled cucumbers
Roni Shneior, Duck #1, 2018
Ceramic, paper mache, metal wire, wig
Josh Callaghan, Door #3, 2012
Natalie Labriola, Feelings, Integrate Your Shadow, Achieve Homeostasis, 2018
Natalie Labriola and Kate Berlant, Satellite Space, 2014-2018
Digital video and installation
Josh Callaghan, Two Dollar Umbrella, 2012 Steel, aluminum, PVC, nylon, office waste basket
Barak Zemer, Cake, 2014
Inkjet print on archival paper
63 x 42 inches
K8 Hardy and Wynne Greenwood, New Report, 2005
The Smudge, editd by Clay Hickson and Liana Jegers, January to December 2018
Risograph printed monthly magazine
Alake Shilling, Baby Face Butterfly Frolicking in the Moss, 2018
Glazed ceramic, acrylic paint