Scene & Herd

Pitching Tents

New York

Left: Artist Scott Hug and Borna Sammak. Right: Alex Tuttle, dealer John Connelly, and artist John Kleckner. (All photos: Michael Wang)

A happy hunting ground of sorts for ex-electroclashers, reformed notebook doodlers, and other lost boys (and a few girls), K48’s latest incarnation, “Kamp K48,” lured the last of the season’s gallerygoers to John Connelly Presents’ far-west-Chelsea foothold last Friday evening. Taking viewers on “an artistic hike through the breathtaking scenery and boundless beauty of the natural world,” show curator, artist, and “Kubmaster” Scott Hug (of “Boy Skouts of Amerika Troop K48”) conjured a scene somewhere between jamboree and NAMBLA meeting. (The press release hints at “troop leaders gone wild,” while artist Terence Koh’s contribution, Ode to Five-Year-Old Boys, 2005, blended Underoos with bondage gear.) Hug summed up his inspiration for the show in the narrative of “little boys going out into nature and becoming men.” His own chain-link-fence wallpaper, made with his boyfriend, artist Michael Magnan, marked the entrance to the main gallery, while Connelly himself stood sentry at the doorway to the back-room annex, where Hug et al. bivouacked on a patch of “assume vivid astro turf” and stocked the tent with sleepover accoutrements, including Noah Lyon’s silk-screened pillows and LoVid’s patchwork T-shirt (the checklist listed dimensions as “size: boy small”).

Streams of scantily clad fagsters (DIY cutoff tees and tank tops seem to be de rigueur this summer, the more crudely hewn the better), supporting the show’s fifty-two artists, poured through the galleries and pooled around the tub of JCP’s signature Grolsch. Beer, set out at precise twenty-minute intervals, was quickly rationed to the anxious crowd. “It’s gone in one or two minutes,” warned the gallery assistant; it seemed more like seconds. Those in the know pumped lemonade from Andrew Guenther’s totemlike, hair-and-coconut-adorned water cooler. Hug leaped around with a Polaroid camera, shooting anyone he knew peering from behind Hrafnhildur Arnardottir’s Hairy Hunchback, a carnival cutout braided from real and synthetic hair.

Left: Cameron Cooper and artist Michael Magnan. Right: Artist Noah Lyon.

Amid whispers that show artists Mirror Mirror were about to perform their goth-glam art rock outside, the bicycle-short-and-tank-top-wearing quartet Durty Nanas took the stage, luring everyone onto the cobblestones for their booty-bass beats just as the sun set over the Hudson. The thinning crowd inside lingered for a minute around the campy campsite, marveling at the sylvan ephemera assembled there while an eccentric visitor, dressed as a kind of purple raver bunny, picked through the assembled works with an affected innocence. With a little more elbow room for roughhousing, Peter Coffin clambered on top of his construction-orange “wolfcycle,” which looked like a carousel beast affixed to a mountain bike. Mounting the larger-than-life canine, the lanky artist could just reach the pedals. By this time, Connelly was taking the gallery pug to relieve itself outside, surely a sign that it was time for the party to move on.

Left: Tha Pumpsta and da Wondaho of the Durty Nanas. Right: Theo Rosenblum.

Left: Artist Grant Worth. Right: Artist Peter Coffin struggles with his creation.