'1 Image 1 Minute' Event Is Like Show and Tell, But With Republican Porn, Dolly Parton and Horse Bestiality
Carol Cheh Roxy Farhat rocks the house with rude catcalls
As part of its 15th anniversary celebration, X-TRA Magazine, a Los Angeles-based art journal, presented the fourth installment of its popular 1 Image 1 Minute event series, in which a few dozen members of the local art community are each asked to present a photograph that is meaningful to them and spend one minute talking about it to the audience. This concept started out in 2008 as an X-TRA column written by artist Micol Hebron, which was in turn inspired by filmmaker Agnès Varda's project of the same name, presented on French network television in 1983.
I've been to two previous incarnations of this event, which took place at different venues and with different tie-ins. It was always fun to watch the parade of nervous presenters filing on and off the stage, and to see what image they would choose to talk about. In the end, many of the speakers wound up being fairly unmemorable, as they simply spent their minute breaking down the significance of the photograph as though they were giving an art history lecture.
At each event, however, there were a handful that really stood out. These tended to be the presentations that were either highly personal or highly performative -- in other words, the ones that took some kind of risk. For example, I will never forget Mara McCarthy putting up a portrait that her father, the artist Paul McCarthy, did of her as a child -- it was a vision of how she would look when she was grown up, and it was an uncannily close match with how she looks now. Similarly, Doug Harvey's meditation on a photograph of his sister, who died tragically at a young age, and Karen Moss' hilarious art theory rap on the work of Martin Kersels stick fondly in my memory.
Carol Cheh William Kaminski figures out why Republicans love Sarah Palin
Last night's event (hosted by ForYourArt), where the energy seemed more evenly spread out, produced many lovely, touching, and humorous moments. Again, the ones that were more personal or more performative did the best job of making an impact on the audience. Jerri Allyn put up Graciela Iturbide's Mujer-Angel-Desierto-Sonora (1979), an image of a woman walking through the desert with a ghetto blaster, and chanted "Micol in 30 years!" over and over again, punctuating her rhythms by clapping and shaking the thick bracelets on her arms. It was an infectious and funny tribute to the evening's founder.
Roxy Farhat also performed her presentation of a random image of a sidewalk from the internet. She basically imitated every rude and lewd comment or cat call that you might hear when walking down a sketchy street: "I'd hit that," "You'd be so hot if you just smile more," "It's your attitude that makes you ugly," as well as guttural, non-verbal mating or fighting noises. Her brazen sassiness roused the audience into loud applause. Much stranger but no less crowd-pleasing was John Burtle's image choice of a horny horse trying to mount a hapless human, with enormous penis in full extension. Burtle accompanied this ridiculously obscene photograph with a very pretty poem about the quest to find romance.
Austin Young talked about how an image is like a door, and how Andy Warhol's iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe, made the year she died, was a "modern-day Mona Lisa" that gave him the psychological space he needed to be who he was. Ellina Kevorkian compared a vintage, pre-plastic surgery photo of Dolly Parton with the infamous "Beast Jesus" botched restoration in Spain (in which an artist tried to restore a 19th-century fresco of Jesus but created a hilariously Eskimo-like version instead), noting that both created "public spirit through personal transformation."
William Kaminski provided a satisfying finish to the evening by presenting the infamous Photoshopped image of Sarah Palin toting a shotgun while wearing a stars-n-stripes bikini next to a pool. His uncle had sent it to him in hopes of changing his mind about the 2008 election. At first mystified by his uncle's choice of a persuasive image, Kaminski thought through the implications and finally concluded that "Republicans are happiest as horny children."