So I’ve been in Austin long enough that I guess I should know who Randy “Biscuit” Turner was. I’m not a music guy, so I have no admiration for who he was or what he may have done. All I know is that there was an art exhibit and I went to check it out.
Entering through the bay door, there are some xeroxed flyers. They look like hodge-podge collages advertising music shows. They try to grab your attention by using funky, weird imagery. They’re rock show flyers. Next to them and throughout the gallery are tchochkes, broken toys and magazine-clipped images all assembled in a similarlly collaged look.
If you were to take Toy Joy, Tesoros and Spencer Gifts and then filtered them through Goodwill or the Salvation Army, you would get the look of this show. Everything is brightly colored, exotically familiar, shiny and/or visually loud. Occasionally there are photographs or a magazine clippings, such as nude bodybuilders, but even they are used obnoxiously loud. Toy gems, glitter or highlighter markers attempt to accentuate the detritus.
The work is too much. Each element feels as if it pushed the piece over the top. There was no resting as each part called out for attention. Because of this desperate demand for attention, I felt there was no art to the assemblages. They all felt like busy craftwork. Even Mr. Turner himself, in the eight minute trailer for a documentary that was playing in the gallery, said that they were “decorated trash”. He may have been describing one specific piece in his home, but that is how I saw the whole of his work. There was no experimentation, save for the addition of some cartoon bubble dialogue for the photographs, and everything was evenly arranged.
“Biscuit” may have been a 78704 boy, but we are definitely not in the same state of mind. This show was BAD. Rest in peace, sir.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.