Kurt Cobong - Art by Skylar Fein
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Skylar Fein
Kurt Cobong

2014

About

medium: Mossberg 500 shotgun, bong, tape Skylar Fein was born in Greenwich Village and raised in the Bronx. He has had many careers including teaching nonviolent resistance under the umbrella of the Quakers, working for a gay film festival in Seattle, stringing for The New York Times and as pre-med student at University of New Orleans where he moved one week before Hurricane Katrina hit. In the wreckage of New Orleans, Fein found his new calling as an artist, experimenting with color and composition of the detritus of Katrina. His work soon became known for its pop sensibility as well as its hard-nosed politics. After a few starring roles in group shows, he had his first solo show in May 2008 at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans. In the fall of 2008, his Prospect.1: Biennial installation, "Remember the Upstairs Lounge," shined a spotlight on an overlooked piece of New Orleans history: a fire that swept through a French Quarter bar in 1973, killing everyone inside. The worst fire in New Orleans history has never been solved. His installation walked visitors right through the swinging bar doors, and offered visual riffs on politics and sexuality circa 1973. The piece was praised in Artforum, Art In America, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker, among others. In late 2009, Fein had his first solo museum show, "Youth Manifesto," at the New Orleans Museum of Art. The exhibition was an ode to punk rock as a force for social and cultural upheaval. True to form, the opening reception was shut down by police responding to the look of the unlikely art-going crowd. Skylar Fein was the recipient of a 2009 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and his work is in several prominent collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, The Louisiana State Museum, The Birmingham Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, curators Dan Cameron and Bill Arning, and collectors Beth Rudin DeWoody, Lance Armstrong, Lawrence Benenson, Brooke Garber-Neidich, Stephanie Ingrassia and Thomas Coleman. statement "I really couldn’t think of anything to do with the gun. Months went by and I started to experience a light, effervescent panic over the deadline. I made regular work of sketching. Nothing. At one point, I did acid with a friend, and while tripping came up with a piece! Brilliant and devastating, it would galvanize the entire world of conceptual art. It would be called “Loaded Mossberg 500” and consist of that model of shotgun, sitting on a table. That’s it. There would be special protocols: the gun would be loaded with 7 shells — in full view — by an assistant IMMEDIATELY after the gallery opened each day, so the public could verify that it was live ammunition. The same assistant would unload the weapon at the close of each day should all the shells be left. And therein lies the excitement of the whole enterprise. Low odds, but high consequences. There were two problems with this: one, the idea sounded way, WAY better when I was tripping — hilariously, it seemed like MacArthur Grant material — and two, the gallery’s lawyer would not allow it. I doubt the lawyer had anything to do with it. My suspicion is that it was the gallery owner who nixed it. This seems fair enough. It’s not like I can’t imagine his concerns. I tried to rent a room in a downtown office building to do the piece but once I explained the purpose the offer was quickly withdrawn. I offered to maintain an armed security guard next to the piece at all times. No dice. The next day, I went to some other dump in the CBD to check out an office space, planning to be obscure about my purpose, but they had already heard about me and sent me away. One day some stoner kid was in my studio and on his way out the door, said, “You should make a bong out of it.” He said it, but when he said it, it wasn’t arch — he tossed it off, it fell from his lips like a Japanese cherry blossom. Once he'd left, I realized it was the best idea yet. After I made it, this gun became the house bong for a few weeks. It works great, though I haven’t exactly gotten used to putting the muzzle of a shotgun in my mouth. It’s still exciting every time."

Details

  • Dimensions
    H 7 in. x W 41 in.H 17.78 cm x W 104.14 cm
  • Gallery Location
    New Orleans, LA
  • Reference Number
    LU10521234653
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About the Seller

5 / 5
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Located in New Orleans, LA
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