Rocking Horse Artspace Presents Readymade Apocalypse
A new exhibit titled “Readymade Apocalypse” is set to debut at the Rocking Horse Artspace in Lawrenceville on Friday. Featuring the works of Kyle Anthony Adams, Casey Hallas, Tom Brown, Jared Aiden Boyer and Brian Holton, Readymade Apocalypse is a night of “found object art”. What exactly is found object art, you ask? Leave it to Wikipedia for all the answers: “Found art describes art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function. Marcel Duchamp was the originator of this in the early 20th century.” Well, well well. Seems easy enough.
We had an opportunity to ask Casey Hallas, the owner of Rocking Horse Artspace, a few questions about the show, the space and future plans. Here’s what he had to say:
Kymbo Slice: How did Rocking Horse come about? Has owning a gallery been a goal of yours for a while or have you operated other art spaces? What’s your background in that aspect?
Casey Hallas: I bought the building in 2008, hoping to open a business up some day. After hosting a few parties, having some bands play, using the space to make my own art, I decided to come up with a gallery concept to fuse a bunch of ideas I’d been having. Modeled after avant-garde art movements from the 20th century, the concept is to have a journal (blog) and to bring together artists of different media. The primary example is Dada, and it’s kind of where the name came from – french for “Hobby Horse” the Rocking Horse is an evolution of the concept. Once we came up with the name, we spied a Rocking Horse in an antique shop on Butler…it’s a 1949 Buddo the Happy Time Horse from Sears. We are creating and exhibiting art & media, mediating our shows, and to some extent our lives. I hope to create more and more media around the gallery (recording events, photography exhibits), and to take the Rocking Horse name out to other venues to produce events. Digital media allows us to take self-publication much further than 100 years ago, and so “journaling” becomes a multimedia activity. I was more interested, personally, on starting an art blog and creating media, but there are historical links between these activities and art movements, and I have the space, so…
I worked at the Audio-Visual Center in college (Grinnell College ’98) and majored in Art History. At the time, media arts weren’t offered in the curriculum, so I did a lot of video editing on my own, learning design and multimedia software, also playing in bands. The web was new in 1994 when I started college – and I saw it evolve from simple VAX terminals to websites with vector animations, sound and video by the time I left college. In my mind, the web offered HUGE potential for NEW types of artistic experiences. It’s only about 15 years later, but I think the potential for art in web and more specifically interactive multimedia have yet to be fully realized (by the general populous) and presented. After college I moved to Chicago and found myself living in a communal art building called The Chicago Flat Iron building. It was an amazing experience to witness all different kinds of art-making in various stages of advancement. As well, I was part of an art collective there called Imperfect Fluids and the building (at the time) hosted an annual event called Around The Coyote Arts Festival which is one of the biggest arts festivals in the Midwest.
So Rocking Horse is a place for “traditional” art, but it’s also a place for presenting “traditional” art in non-traditional ways, or considering presenting performance, film, interactive media as ART. Some shows will be art on the walls, some shows will be experiences. These days artists may be good at more than one thing – and so we envision the physical and virtual spaces to be places where ideas can come together. I’ve said to Brian that I believe we are are making Art History…both literally and figuratively.
KS: How do you come up with ideas for show themes?
CH: Show themes come about mostly by the artists closest to me (the people I hang out with the most) getting together and brainstorming. Since we’re still early on, we’ve tried a few different scenarios so far (actually hung 3 shows in 2 weeks this month!). If someone has an idea, we typically discuss it as a group and get it on a calendar. Right now we have ideas for shows until the fall of next year, though we’ll be adding some music events, film screenings and performances to the calendar. Brian Holton is currently acting as the curator, whereas Kyle Anthony Adams will help more with developing the website. Tom Brown helps with installation as well. We really just bounce ideas off each other and since most of them are good ideas, they typically find a home.
For someone outside the group to come in, I think it’s probably a matter of being a good artist and getting our attention. Otherwise, we’re open to other ideas, and if someone has a cohesive idea of what they would want to do, they could bring it to Brian or myself for consideration. Readymade Apocalypse was Kyle’s idea. He wanted to do a show of found art object and anti-art. Things that weren’t art re-envisioned as art. We cleared the gallery out of all the furniture and it’s got a lot of pieces in it. Some of them individuals worked on singularly, some are collaborations. For example, there is a piece that Kyle and I envisioned together but I actually “built” it. Still, it will probably have both of our names on it. It’s going to be a great show – collage, sculpture, lighting, media, installation.
KS: Future projects in the works? Goals for the gallery?
CH: Brian Holton and I are working on a film project together called 9th Ward Ghost Town. We’re using the gallery and the building to shoot a lot of the movie in and a lot of the techniques we are using to film (projections, cameras) will be used to produce Rocking Horse media in the future. Personally, I’m working on recording some of my folk songs, and generally focusing on living my life as an artist. Brian and I also have a video mixing collective called The Legendary Androids so look for us to do shows around town. Other than that, I have a monthly DJ/VJ gig at Eclipse lounge called Crazy Heart Action Club where I mix video live with Afrobeat, psychedelic and world music.
Rocking Horse will be having an open art show in January called “The Rocking Horse Open”. They’re looking for artists to submit up to two pieces each. The show will be juried by Rocking Horse staff and a guest judge. More details to follow at Readymade Apocalypse or you can find them later here on the blog.
Rocking Horse – proof the creative communities in the Pgh are thriving, and then some!