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Art / Marcel Dzama, bats, root beer, Canada

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."