Michael Alan’s Living Installation: The Revolutionary Art Event That You’re Probably Missing By Emily Colucci.

Wedding/Vampyr Circus, a living installation took place on September 16th 2011 at ABC No Rio.

{Photo left: The Wedding, Dylan Morgan, Raquel Mavecq, Emil B Nasty and Miss Suzie Q, photo by Garry Boake}

If you are anything like me, you frequent Chelsea gallery openings and supposedly avant-garde art parties only to leave completely disappointed and weirdly nostalgic for the old New York art scene.  What would it be like to see Ann Magnuson, Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring at Club 57, hang out with Andy and Edie at the Factory or watch one of those bizarre, inexplicable Fluxus performances in SoHo before it was an open-air mall? Well, its time to stop that nonsense whining because a raw, inclusive, totally wild, D-I-Y art show is happening now. Michael Alan’s Living Installation has its roots in that glorious art scene that everyone seems to believe has passed.  Rather than endure another self-involved and nearly delusional Terence Koh or Marina Abramovic performance, art enthusiasts need to wake up and experience the unexpected and nearly unexplainable Michael Alan’s Living Installation, which they did at “The Wedding/Vampire Circus,” which featured two shows at one time, on Friday at legendary punk-art venue ABC No Rio.

Not a play, a performance, a show or a happening per se, Michael Alan’s Living Installation is an art piece where artist Michael Alan turns a group of performers into living art objects, using every material he can get his hands on. A native New Yorker, Alan has distilled the New York art and culture he grew up in and created an entirely new, crazy experience that runs about 6 hours. From paint to glue to baby powder to wild masks made from doll parts, pieces of paper and toys, the appearance of the performers begins to look like an experimental fashion photo-shoot, which is probably why Marie Claire Italy was one of the magazines excited about the Living Installation rather than the ancient, conservative art journals.

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 A town. A disturbing West. A repeated chime. A running flute motif.

(To soothe the incredibly strange journey?)


I began my exploration of Andasol via a Twin Peaks marathon and a nasty cold but three weeks later (cough syrup and owl references aside) the album itself seems an attempt to document the story of a mythology, prominent and haunting, which (on some level) should avoid any comparison to Badalamenti save for perhaps, “Heron Lake.”

There have been discussions and debates about the origins of the tunes, a cryptic reference in the liner notes led me on a month long search for a (to be determined) Southwestern mystic, but then, I watched the documentary Jay contributed music to, Marwencol…and things became clear.

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Powhida Performs Powhida by J.D. Siazon.

Famous for his brazen critique of the art world William Powhida asks if his presence in a gallery space is enough to qualify as a credible exhibit.  POWHIDA, on view at Marlborough Chelsea till August twelfth, strips the gallery down to nothing but the artist himself, a leather couch, two leather chairs, a coffee table, a mini fridge for beer, and a painting by Tom Sanford called “Portrait of a Genius” which shows William Powhida releasing a dove with a bottle of liquor in his right hand and a woman at his feet.

With the success of the show riding on his star power William Powhida attempted at the opening reception to grandstand presumably in parody of art celebrities.  Chauffeured in a black convertible Mercedes-Benz into the gallery whose glass facade had been retracted Powhida then commenced for the most part to drink champagne and beer on the aforementioned leather couch flanked by girls before being again chauffeured out of the gallery later that evening.

“The gallery is a world unto itself” William Powhida in the show’s press release states “a social space with a highly codified set of relationships having the formal beauty of a ballet.”

On my visit to the show I was surprised to find Powhida drinking beer and playing chess with two friends.  He was very amenable offering to pose in a photograph with me which I accepted.  Squatting just beside the portrait by Tom Sanford a man was scraping paint from the gallery floor.  Asking if I could take his picture Powhida quickly interjected saying that the gentleman was nothing more than a paintbrush and no need to ask his permission for a pic. Self-consciousness though made Powhida’s importunity unconvincing. Leaving the show I wished the artist best of luck with his endeavors.

Bad boy image aside creatively William Powhida’s talents are endless and his moxie refreshing.  With prescience his artwork has the potential to shine a more telling light on the art world than his current critical gestures strive to do. Invariably with Powhida it’s the difference between court jester and crown prince.

THE MAST: “Wild Poppies” by Matt Mowatt.

by Matt Mowatt
RELEASES: June 21, 2011

THURS, JULY 7, 2011 @ Le Poisson Rouge, NYC, 7PM

“Trump” Wild Poppies, 2011 BUY ALBUM.

“Wild Poppies” Wild Poppies, 2011 BUY ALBUM.

I had always thought that the djembe was an instrument solely relegated to the living room of a stoned and nude Matthew McConaughey. To the sandal clad college kid; or perhaps set in the corner of some ecologically sound mansion as a decorative gesture of cultural awareness. It’s refreshing to have one’s stereotypes shattered. The Mast’s new album Wild Poppies -and their djembe- did just that.

The ethereal vocals of Haale, whose riffs conjure scenes of panoramic deserts, compliment the unfolding complexity of Matt Kilmer’s poly-rhythmic drumming (using not only the djembe, but also a frame drum a bass drum, a floor tom, and cymbals) and invoke a sort of blooming, colorful landscape of layers, organically grown. I think of a toned down Kills, a hyperactive (or perhaps simply active) Mazzy Star, a straightforward Blonde Redhead. In spite of these comparisons, and in a music world saturated with tuned glossy duos, The Mast has carved out a niche all their own, weaving together a sound both simulated and organic.

Song titles like “The Lake” and “Hummingbird,” and lyrics such as “gold dust of the sun has settled, brightens my mind,” or “rolling over the reeds, rolling over mounds of earth, from my head to feet, oh land, the grand masseuse,” reinforce the earthiness of the sound. Despite the fact that the cover art, a fractal image of poppies grown in the band’s backyard, invites the psychedelic, to label their music as simply psychedelic, electronic or rock/pop would be off the mark. Much like their self-proclaimed symbol, The Mast’s strength lies in its ability to merge the best of all three in symbiotic sound.


The Mast will play THURS, JULY 7, 2011 @ Le Poisson Rouge for the release of their album “Wild Poppies.”

ABOUT MATT MOWATT: Matthew Mowatt is currently working as a freelance editor and English teacher in Paris, France. He’s  searching for publishers to accept his first finished novella and in the meantime, he seeks out musicians and writers for entertainment of the inspirational kind. He occasionally contributes to his own fanless blog (fairweather chronicles) when he’s licked by life.