Exhibitions : Williamsburg Art & Historical Center

The Potato Revolution
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THE POTATO REVOLUTION: Cult of Potato 2011 An Exhibition of Contemporary Potato Art organized by Potatoist Jeffrey Allen Price October 7 – November 20, 2011 / Opening Reception Friday, October 14, 6-9 pm In the midst of the global awakening, with widespread outbreaks of revolution and revolts, while uprisings and protests around the world are coordinated through social networks and mediated through other forms of electronic media, a natural and organic transformation is also growing--a grassroots artistic movement is blossoming--A Potato Revolution! The Potato Revolution takes its inspiration from the most nutritious and abundant vegetable on planet earth – Solanum tuberosum. The potato’s value as a source of food is well known and appreciated, but it has also been a significant symbol and subject of art as far back as its discovery in the Andes Mountains at least 10,000 years ago. The Cult of Potato artists following in this tradition are as varied and diverse as the 5,000 species of potatoes existing on planet earth, and The Potato Revolution reveals that the potato is as rich in content as it is in vitamins and minerals. Australian-based artist Kitty Owens chronicles the potato’s complex history in her series Postcards from the Potato which traces the vegetable’s journey from Peru to Europe and back to the New World. Modern master Italo Scanga creates altar-like Potato Famine sculptures— powerful reminders of the Late Blight trauma that destroyed Ireland’s source of sustenance. Viviane Le Courtois video installation Générations d’épluchures (Generations of Peelings) re-enacts her French family’s tradition of hand-peeling potatoes. The mound of dried peels from her Potato Potlucks connects the potato with the idea of community, self-reliance and natural living. Several of the artists in the exhibition grew up in geographic locations known for their reliance on the potato for survival. Ontario-based photographer Andrzej Maciejewski was raised in potato-dependent Poland, and his still-life Garden of Eden recasts the potato as the biblical forbidden fruit—the apple of the earth. His V.I.P. series (Very Important potatoes) features stately portraits of potatoes skewered on forks. In a series of illustrated letters, Cologne-based Colombian artist Adrián Villa Dávila creates a hypothetical friendship between two historical potato artists: Victor Grippo and Vincent van Gogh. Dutch composer and Cult of Potato founding member Michiel Brink also references van Gogh in his work. The Potato Musician’s oeuvre spans a generation, and his band de Aardappeleters (The Potato Eaters, the van Gogh painting) is pleased to present a CD of new potato songs with accompanying drawings. Adam Taye’s sculpture Esto Perpetua/ I Will Fight No More Forever explores his Idaho Mormon upbringing and the spiritual connection between potatoes and basketball. He humorously depicts his experiences as a young potato farmhand in Erased New Yorker Cartoons. New York-based artists master printer Jon Cone and painter Archie Rand collaborated to create the world’s largest Potato print. This project combines large-scale potato printmaking processes with experiments in sleep deprivation. Beirut-based artist Ginou Choueiri’s Potato Portraits synthesize the potato/human condition by transferring portraits of people onto the skins of real spuds. In French photographer Jean-Louis Gonterre’s new large-scale series, monumental potatoes compose elegant relationships with tension, heat, force, and gravity. Brooklyn-based Anna Alicja Feitzinger’s photo-installation examines the potato through the lens of biology. Magnifying the potato plant through a microscope and photographing its microcosmic reality, she re-imagines the potato as the origin of the universe. London-based potato artist Lucy Kippin encapsulates the spirit of the Potato Revolution with her installation Dig for Victory and We the Made Lucky Few where cast-wax potatoes appear as supporting characters in a call to action and show of unity. New York-based performance artist and author Paul McMahon exploits the potato’s prodigious comedic possibilities in his stand-up act (immortalized on the Soupy Sales show) and his book Potato Jokes. Long-time potato artist, printmaker and draughtsman, Missouri-based Chad Woody presents comic yet charming potato prints from his forthcoming book The Life and Death of a Potato. Other humorous works in the show include Texas-based Sherry Owens’ cast-bronze potatoes in a frying pan, Hot For Each Other, New York-based Beth Giacummo’s fast-food cartoon sculptures, Fry Babies, Arkansas-based Annalisa Nutt’s sexy Potato Pillow Talk photographs, and Mississippi-based Allan Innman’s photo-realistic rendering of the most famous face in potato pop culture, Mr. Potato Head. Potato Revolution organizer, THINK POTATO founder, Cult of Potato co-founder, and Potatoist, New York-based Jeffrey Allen Price presents Potato Shrine an interactive installation of potato-themed art and artifacts from 15 years of making, collecting and researching Potato Art. Also, on view is his Potato Revolution Café, envisioned as both a Potato Speak-Easy and the Temporary Headquarters of The Potato Revolution. Potato Revolution Café will feature potato-themed food, drinks, art and memorabilia during special events and performances during the exhibition. Friday, November 11, 8:30pm Special musical performance by J.A.P.’s new band POTATOTRON Saturday, November 12, 2–3pm Potato Revolution gallery talk with curator Jeffrey Allen Price

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