American Values American Pride:
and the art under ground studio

Jessica Bowers, are you smarter than a fifth grader?Baltimore, MD - The Art Under Ground Studio's "Show #7 American Values American Pride, a Pre-election Primer", IS still our most successful Opening by a very very long shot.  The reception was on Saturday November 4, everyone involved chipped in mightily and the crowd was big all night long.  With the next "most important election" of your lifetime just 3 days away on Tuesday November 7, all in attendance were in a political mood.  Talk of Bush-Cheney, staying the course, new ideas, stopping the war, the passionate conservative v. the thinking moderate, a Woman's Right, etc etc etc.  We wanted a show about politics, about current events, this country's direction, and our tomorrows, but more importantly, the Studio simply wanted everyone to participate in the election, do whatever you can, for whoever you wanted but just do something.  I think we succeeded.  Even the Baltimore City Paper's Freelance Writer, Jessica Bowers stopped by on Thursday November 16 to see what the HUBUB was all about.  This is what J Bowers wrote and the Baltimore City Paper published in Vol 30 No 48 November 29 - December 6, 2006 edition, it was not a good review but the Studio is grateful for the review.

Art by M Wiggs"M Wiggs, American Values series amounts to a wall full of American flags, KKK figures, dollar bills, guns, and other trite, often collaged images..." writes Jess Bowers of the Baltimore Citypaper.  Let's not forget, this show was about current events during the Fall of 2006, unlike J Bowers, everyone else that saw M Wiggs' work, did not see KKK figures, unless of course you were either too far sighted to see what's right in front of your eyes or did not bother to read the headlines, or listen to the News for most of 2006.  What Jessica Bowers thought were simple Klan figures, a Fifth Grader in any civics class in the US would whisper to their classmate, "It's Abu Ghraib...".  WOW, now that's about as wrong as midnight and noon, for Bowers, here's what KKK Figures look like, here's Art with Dollar Bills, and here's THE story of the Abu Ghraib Torture and Prisoner Abuse Scandal.  Granted, I WASN'T raised in the Conservative T of the great state of Pennslvania, but even if I were, I would have known the difference between the Klan AND the Abu Ghraib Scandal.  Trite? The Amercan flag, Dollar bills, guns, war and scandal, sounds more like "politics as usual" than anything else...

Megan Hildebrandt"I do not seek, I find" - Picasso

J Bowers review of Megan Hildebrandt's work is so convoluted that it's difficult to find a coherent and factual statement that hasn't been seemingly stretched between the Inner Harbor and Charles Village.  (Read it for yourself and let me know what your think.)  "High-concept, to be sure, but you wonder why Hildebrandt would suggest the ironic spreading of urban blight by-products as a solution to the equally unsightly genuine article."  J Bowers, Baltimore City Paper.  This is what I would need to say to Jessica Bowers, "you don't really open it up and throw it around!"  Sorry, NO, Hildebrandt's Urban Blight Confetti is not actually made to be used at your next big event.  Seems at the time, Bowers creative writer's "what if" imagination was able to contrive even the most perverted use of art, tsk tsk tsk!  Truisms to live by; every single great artist in history has one way or another employed "found objects" in their works and Bowers "inventive acumen" of Picasso would make for wonderful reading.

We do agree and is fact, the Studio is "painfully low-ceilinged", but no one has run out of the Studio or complained yet, it's an odd and fiercely independent space and want to keep it that way.  Two things Bowers and I cannot agree to or is gospel, "anything goes, everyone's welcome..." or "nigh-obsessive fear of 'censorship'...", I am still looking for Bowers' sources regarding these quotes.  In some ways, the Studio does encourage interested artists to exhibit, but it's a two-way street, and many cannot satisfy their end of the bargain.  In regards to "censorship", I do censor, period.  (It is a KNOWN fact here in Baltimore that I don't agree with Artscape's use of ZAPPLICATION.ORG, it is THE wrong instrument for ethical and impartial play. <--- maybe Bowers personal source).  It's either this, or what a few insiders have strongly suggested, shades of an interesting article in The Local

If this were a Fencing Competition, Bowers would have earned a "Carton Noir", but it's not, J Bowers clearly failed, which makes the possibility her past "reviews" for the Baltimore Citypaper are each equally skewed, good and bad.  At this rate of professional growth, Jessica Bowers, we are afraid, will never never get out of Kansas...

Rick Santiago
The Art Under Ground Studio
Hamden - Baltmore, MD
Comment welcome at rick@artundergroundstudio.com
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