The Royal Art Lodge snuck up on me. I wandered into a show of theirs at the Power Plant, a gallery in Toronto in 2003. In a fairly small space, they'd crammed a wall full of collaborative paintings, Polaroids, homemade musical instruments, and many paintings by Marcel Dzama and Neil Farber. It was all very … hard to describe: thrown together, primitive, whimsical, charming, dark, strange, hilarious. A painting of debutantes sitting in a row on the back of an alligator, smoking cigarettes. Bats. Root beer syrup. A grid of Polaroids, each of which was composed of a person in a strange, homemade mask poking his/her head out of a window of an institutional building.I couldn't quite believe it and I loved it. It would be hard for any art show to rival serendipitous discovery like that, but last week, I checked out Yerba Buena's show of some newer Royal Art Lodge stuff: Peer Pleasures 1. Worth seeing, like many recent YBCA shows. Not spectacular, but solid.See also:
- Lists of interesting stuff that Neil Farber and Michael Duomontier will swap paintings for (Neil: Micronauts from the 70's. Michael: self-released Joanna Newsom albums).
- Marcel Dzama interview with Sarah Vowell: "If there is a Canadian factor in our togetherness, perhaps it is borne out of the isolation of living in a small city like Winnipeg, and the cold weather. We are not able to go outside too often because right now your skin will freeze within minutes."