Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cheeseburger Paradise

In 2012, when I last participated in a group exhibit in the area, I swore that I would never attend another opening for any exhibit in which I was participating.  This oath was born, not out of some high level angst, but rather an abiding sense of the superfluousness of the opening....or more acurately, the superfluousness of me at the opening.

Of course, at the next possible occurrence to test this oath (Drive-Thru opened last night at Matteawan Gallery here in Beacon), I end up contriving a piece that is predicated on attending the opening.  I decided to try my hand at sewing a shirt of cheeseburger wrappers which I would wear to the opening, at the end of which would be left in the gallery.

The focus of my contribution to the show revolves around McDonald's cheeseburgers.   All of my works in the exhibit are the results of passing through a gauntlet of ideas,explorations, attempts and failures around using the burgers themselves - and their wrapping - as the very material of my project.

my own private pre-opening fashion shoot.

Reserve, paper wrappers, thread (with shirt)
Deployment, plaster, fabric,
1/2 Yard, acrylic on plaster, 9"x6"x6"

I found that the wrappers of 16 cheeseburgers from McDonalds renders about a yard of fabric.  It took approximately 2 and a half yards to make the shirt.  The burgers accompanying the wrappers were consumed in the process of creating plaster molds for sculptures, one of which is in the show.

My original intent - and the impetus for saving years' worth of wrappers was their seeming potential as watercolor support (albeit thin and fragile.)  The imperative I felt to use the wrappers in this way, was made more strong through a change in the to the wrappers used by the restaurant this year, but was ultimately foiled somewhat by technical reasons, but mostly for imaginative ones.   The wrappers used in the shirt are all 2013 wrappers, and most of my cache of older wrappers wait to be bent by me into another form of service.

I still really wanted to create a 2-D piece for the show.  I settled on fabricating a wrapper from the cut offs from the process of making the shirt.  Since I used a striped fabric to line the shirt to add strength to it, I had identical shaped scraps in both wrapper material and fabric.
I stitched the wrapper fragments together to create a representation of a wrapper, then made an "exact" abstract copy in the stripped fabric.
Reserve (front & facing)

I viewed all components of these works as having both aesthetic and practical potential:  wrappers dressing burger and dressing me; "wrappers" serving as aesthetic object while also in reserve to wrap a naked burger in need.
The titles of the two works, "Reserve" and "Deployment" refer to the current state of each piece.  Each piece is convertible between the two states and can exist in either.  These titles, referring to the functional states of the two works, also take on a meaning referencing the potency of American culture's influence on the rest of the globe.  That the striped wrapper takes on the appearance of a stitched American Flag in its Deployment state potent in itself, I think.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Drive-Thru opens Aug.10 @ Matteawan Gallery in Beacon NY

Christopher Albert, Deployment, 2013, fabric and plaster, 5"x5"x2"


Christopher Albert
Liam Goodman 
Peter Iannarelli
Matt Kenyon

August 10 - 31, 2013

Opening Reception Saturday, August 10, 6-9 pm

 On the night of the opening Liam Goodman will also present The First Annual Fast 
Food Training Film Festival, which includes films from the 70s and 80s that will teach
the viewer about good customer service and how to fry chicken and grill hamburgers.

press release
I've spent a good part of the past month + exploring my relationship with McDonald's cheeseburgers.  Some of the objects resulting from this meditation will be part of this exhibition at Karlyn Benson's super charming, super cool, Matteawan Gallery.  
If you are around and able to come to the opening, you'll see me attired in the fashion of a cheeseburger.