Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Tomata du Plenty's Art Comes to the East Coast at the Georgia Museum of Art

Joe Louis, painted by Tomata du Plenty. This work can be seen in the Boxers and Backbeats exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Ga. 

West Coast punk art created by a countercultural musician heavily involved in the drag world and the development of the synth-punk music scene, whose visual artistic career really only began when he found old paint supplies in a Hollywood alleyway, may seem like a strange exhibition choice for an art museum in a Southern community. However, this is exactly one of the upcoming exhibitions at the Georgia Museum of Art because here in Athens, and especially at the museum, originality and innovation is celebrated.

"Boxers and Backbeats: Tomata du Plenty and the West Coast Punk Scene" is on display at the Georgia Museum of Art from Oct. 4-Jan. 4. The exhibition includes portraits of boxers and musicians created by Tomata du Plenty, as well as a number of prints and zines from various other artists influential to the West Coast punk scene, such as Mark Vallen and Ray Pettibon.

Tomata du Plenty (known as David Xavier Harrigan before he adopted his new identity)  helped define the "punk rocker" that became popular in the West Coast in the 1970s. He was a founder of the drag theatre group Ze Whiz Kidz and the singer of the synth-punk band the Screamers. He began to delve into painting in the 80s. He welcomed his "outsider" status due to his lack of training, claiming that he would prefer to sell 100 paintings priced at $25 each than a single painting for $2500. 

This exhibition intimates one of the most unique characteristics of Athens -- its prominence in the music world and its interdisciplinary involvement with the arts. In tandem with the concurrent exhibition, "The … of E6," Boxers and Backbeats demonstrates the trans-American nature of cultural arts and helps contrast two very different but equally vivacious examples of the intersection between music and visual art. The works of art were donated by collector Gordon W. Bailey in honor of R.E.M. members and Athens musicians Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry.

A number of Georgia Museum of Art events will feature this exhibition:

No comments: