Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Dave Eggers, author and founder of the exeedlingly clever lit magazine McSweeney's, has curated an art show at apexart. Described in the Village Voice as "Text, image, and humor from the likes of R. Crumb, Leonard Cohen, Andy Warhol, Henry Darger." The show opened April 2nd, and has drawn the hipster cognoscenti in droves.

In the press release, Eggers asks "Is humor allowed in art, and in what forms? Are captions allowed in art, and why?" The show consists of crude drawings accompanied by hand-drawn text.

Crude art and hand-written captions are nothing new -- bathroom stalls have been full of it for years -- but this faux-naive art appears to be the rage. Art directors must love it, too, because it's everywhere from indie album covers to alternative weekly newsprint. The musical equivalent might be the soundtrack of Juno. All those simple, sickly drawn animals -- an awkward, gangly deer, for example, a few stick trees, and some too-cute, off-center children, maybe in snowsuits, maybe holding bows and arrows. It's supposed to look sweet and earnest, I suppose, and on another level ironic. Of course.

Eggers on the left (photos by Sam Horine)

Yes, it could be horrible, but much of Egger's charm resides in his Rolodex, and the list of participants is impressive. I mean, you wouldn't want childish drawings actually drawn by children, for godsakes. Like, duh. That's not ironic. We want people who know better.

According to apexart, the show includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Cohen, David Berman, Georges Braque, Jeffrey Brown, R. Crumb, Henry Darger, Marcel Duchamp, CM Evans, David Godbold, Philip Guston, Paul Hornschemeier, Jay Howell, Chris Johanson, Maira Kalman, Kenneth Koch, Jason Logan, David Mamet, Quenton Miller, Tucker Nichols, Alice Notley, Ron Padgett, Raymond Pettibon, Dan Perjovschi, Amy Jean Porter, Steve Powers, Royal Art Lodge, Peter Saul, George Schneeman, Olga Scholten, Leanne Shapton, David Shrigley, Shel Silverstein, Nedko Solakov, Art Spiegelman, Ralph Steadman, William Steig, Saul Steinberg, and Kurt Vonnegut.

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