Thursday, February 9, 2012

Way Out West ...the Arizona room...photographs by Eric Kroll

As I mentioned in a previous blog brilliant  Morrighan Clinco, co artistic director of Atomic 10, asked me to do something for "Mercury Portal" Jan. 28, and 29th at the Monterrey Court at 505 w. Miracle Mile in Tucson, Az. I kept putting off my commitment. Meanwhile I drove to Kayenta to the Indian market. I remembered the tourist glass jars with the different colored sand and collected a small amount on my journey. When i got back to Tucson I realized what I wanted to do. The Arizona Room...I had wanted to do it at Candelabra, Colleena Haik's gallery but she was concerned about upsetting her yoga and massage clientale. I approached Eric Foss at his gallery on 2nd avenue in NY but he never responded after initially saying yes.
I wanted to construct a full sized desert diorama and Morrighan offered me a room. Inside would be cactus and desert scenes and on the walls would be erotic/humorous photos I had taken over the past several years in Arizona...Not puffy clouds and mountain ranges but rather near naked women in heels.
Once I had the go ahead I hired Heather Gray aka Wodrich to help produce the room. We had a few scattered days. I drove to LA and then to San Marcos and then stopping at midnite at the Imperial Sand Dunes Rec area and by the lite of the stars shovelled white sand into barrels. I was going to drive the 7 hrs back up to the Four Corners area but Heather reminded me of the red clay country around Sedona, less than four hours away.
I wanted it to be somewhat dangerous to walk into the diorama with the many cactus. I couldn't figure how to make the sand retain shape and contacted Ron Kurash, master builder of everything structural.  He suggested correctly cutting stirafoam and using watered down Elmer's glue. Heather realized his suggestion
with a matt knife. I was in Heather's neighbor by Morrighan- Robert Anthony Villa who became an instant friend and teacher. He offered me baby tortoises, gila monsters and snakes. I accepted with open arms. He also worked through the nite with Heather and I to ready the room. Everything else came from my humble home.

In the space I was given at the Court there was a bathroom area in the back. Gino Baldesari introduced me to RESTORE- second hand parts and i was able to buy a white door for $15 and punch a hole in it for one's eye to look through. Behind it I set up two vhs monitors and played parts of my Girdle Gulch part one and two that HBO followed me around making in 1991.

I brought some clothes for Heather and others to wear.

Ske went away and came back as Annie Oakley Gray

We had music. First, my good friend Naim Amor, a more than very fine guitar player and song writer, seranaded his son Lucien while his mother, Crystal, was away on work in NYC.

I asked Laura Milkins to do a `walk about' in the Arizona room and she arrived in the `look' she had when she walked this year from Tucson to Grand Rapids, Michigan, her home. Project: The Walking Home Project. 
WALKING HOME: stories from the desert to the Great Lakes

The object around her head was a camera allowing for live cam.

I always like it when friends come to something I do. I also like critics to see what i do. Sometimes critics are friends as in the case of Carlo McCormack. I've known him since the Limbo Lounge days when he curated 7 exhibitions in seven days. He was one of the main voices with the birth of lower eastside art (Manhattan) in the 1980's. I have a large format portrait of him when he was all baby faced and serious. He lives in the same building as my friend Richard Kern so I see them both when I'm in NY visiting. He also is the doorman at the Fuse Bar on second ave and second st. I introduced him to Eric Firestone and Eric ran with Carlo's talent and connections as does Eric always. Carlos subsequently was involved strongly in the "Nose Show" of the illustrated airplane nose cones that sat waiting in the airplane graveyards that circle Tucson. I got Carlo and Tessa his wife and his son to come by the A room. Here Carlo and I sit playing chess.

My friend and fashion maven, Bree Pappan, created a fashion show in the Arizona room dressing models in my collection of western wear. The cowboys were

Michael Pappan (shown here with the back of Bree and their daughter Madison

and conversing with me

and Johnny Voodoo

Michael and Johnny fully packed

and the cowgirls were (lft to rght) Bree Pappan, Madison Pappan, and Courtney Barnes.

Madison by herself

the fashion gang

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