On Friday, Dirty Drawings by a Creepy Man opened at The Strange Circus Gallery. I started working on this show on January 20th…which feels like forever ago. There are over 400 drawings in the show, and the turnout was great.
Mike was perfect in playing the artist Ward Henry Jr., introducing himself to people walking in the door, taking pictures with couples, making crude (yet somehow charming?) comments, etc. At his best point, he merely pointed at specific drawings when asked questions about himself and his work.
Joe was so immersed in his role (a disgusted man quietly attempting to encourage dissent among the patrons) that he walked passed me several times without any acknowledgement of familiarity, never breaking his scowl. For a bit he sat outside chainsmoking, telling people "pretty sick stuff in there," channeling a familiar demeanor from his midwestern upbringing.
This whole facade deflected attention from me, which allowed me to walk around the gallery and pay attention to the general response to the show.
Besides a four year old who exclaimed to his father and sisters, "GROSS I AM NOT FOLLOWING YOU GUYS IN THERE," no one really batted an eyelash. The attendees were, as a whole, seemingly desensitized to the image of a naked woman. People saw Ward Henry Jr.'s obsessive behavior and innuendo-laced commentary as quirky and charming. One man returned to the show with a cocktail for Ward. Meanwhile, not a single person took Joe's bait; most either openly disagreed with him or tried to convince him of some sort of commonality that exists in art in general.