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Patterson Beckwith

A lecturer at the City College of New York, Patterson Beckwith is a photographer and founding member of Art Club 2000, a collaborative started in 1992 by Colin de Land. Currently at work on a new series of analog “special effects” photographs, he is now editing versions of Cash from Chaos and Unicorns & Rainbows—his mid-’90s public-access TV shows made with Alex Bag—for distribution by Electronic Arts Intermix. His book Bananas for Moholy-Nagy was published in 2010 by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

  1. RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE

    Best. Show. Ever. (Work of Art: The Next Great Artist is pretty great too, seeing as it also telegraphs some extraction of subcultural intrigue into our living rooms.) I maintain a broad definition of art; Ru’s queens are definitely artists. And as art is nothing if not the research-and-development wing of consumer culture, TV such as this is truly involving and fascinating to watch.

    *Raja, winner of the third season of _RuPaul’s Drag Race_, April 25, 2011*, New York. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images. Raja, winner of the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, April 25, 2011, New York. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images.
  2. AMY GARTRELL, CASA DE CARLOS, 2012

    Mexico has a highly standardized street palette—azul colonial, rosa mexicana, particular shades of bright yellow, red, and orange—and it seemingly covers everything. While on a residency in Mexico City this year, I saw this mural, painted by NYC-based mixed-media artist and classically trained colorist Amy Gartrell, outside the home of local radio host, filmmaker, professor, and art patron Carlos Narro. The wall features po-mo-style abstract patterns anchored by a pair of Toltec-pyramid “doors of perception,” which, together, form something like an architectonic color study. When you stand in front of the mural and turn to face the surrounding working-class neighborhood, Casa de Carlos perfectly reflects the spectrum of everything you see up and down the street.

  3. LORENZO LOTTO, VENUS AND CUPID, CA. 1523–26, AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK

    This is my favorite artwork in my favorite museum. All public art institutions should offer “recommended” admission fees for artists. Sixteenth-century water sports!

    *Lorenzo Lotto, _Venus and Cupid_, ca. 1523–26*, oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 43 7/8" Lorenzo Lotto, Venus and Cupid, ca. 1523–26, oil on canvas, 36 3/8 x 43 7/8"
  4. OOGA BOOGA, LOS ANGELES

    While many people in the ’00s were working toward “curatorial studies” degrees, ex-teen-punk musician Wendy Yao was starting Ooga Booga. Now eight years running, this small Chinatown shop sells everything—from (K Records founder) Calvin Johnson’s mix tapes to rainbow doo-doo by Jim Drain to silk-screened posters by Bjorn Copeland to Lisa Sitko’s ceramic apple pipes (featured in the National Enquirer as used by Charlize Theron)—and has hosted tons of live events. Wendy is a vital supporter of underground life in LA and beyond, having also initiated the annual Art Swap Meet (in collaboration with her sister, Amy) in Joshua Tree, California, and a current series on the political and the personal in subculture at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. I can’t emphasize this enough: Art needs more people like Wendy Yao! Rather than just building her own fame, she creates by enabling an entire scene.

    *Advertisement for Ooga Booga designed by Wiley Bonkers, 2011.* Advertisement for Ooga Booga designed by Wiley Bonkers, 2011.
  5. BRANSTON PICKLE

    Made by a UK company called Premier Foods and found in the Rotten Tooth section of your local supermarket or teatime specialty store, this product is really good on cheese sandwiches, without which I would not be alive.

  6. MINDY VALE

    Alter ego of artist Daniel McDonald, this psychedelic drag hag has had her own jewelry line, Mended Veil (available now only at Ooga Booga); appeared in both Spencer Sweeney’s Physical Theater Rock Opera and Ellen Cantor’s film Pinochet Porn; and even posed for Purple magazine. However, Mindy’s primary gig is starring in McDonald’s own mind-bending videos. Recently shown at Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie in Berlin, they represent, at least to my mind, what video art should be—funny, entertaining, and brief.

    *Danny McDonald, _The End of a Dream Sequence_, 2010*, still from a color video, 15 minutes. Mindy Vale. Danny McDonald, The End of a Dream Sequence, 2010, still from a color video, 15 minutes. Mindy Vale.
  7. JIM KREWSON

    is consistently, hysterically funny. A multimedia artist and bluegrass musician living in upstate New York, he has a special knack for making airbrush renderings of celebrities—his Richard Simmons portrait is particularly awesome. And say what you will about Jack Black’s band, Tenacious D, but no one could have so expertly translated the idea of “mass penetration” as did Krewson for the cover art of the group’s brand-new album, Rize of the Fenix.

    *Jim Krewson, _Richard and Friend_, 1998*, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 48". Jim Krewson, Richard and Friend, 1998, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 48".
  8. REVEREND JEN

    If Gidget were to birth a child by Charles Bukowski, she’d have Reverend Jen. Peppy yet emo, this elf-eared anomaly curates a world-famous Troll Museum; has, for the past sixteen years, hosted a monthly open mic (now held at the Bowery Poetry Club), and just completed a laugh-out-loud memoir of bohemian extremism, Elf Girl (Gallery Books, 2011). Now, with filmmaker Courtney Fathom Sell, Jen has created the world’s most underfunded motion-picture studio: ASS, aka Art Star Scene, Studios, aka the DreamWorks of the Lower East Side. Their new DVD features the bloody action movie Killer Unicorn and the easy-to-follow Elf Workout—sure to get viewers rock hard in no time.

  9. TWENTYNINE PALMS, CALIFORNIA

    Forget Marfa. This part of the Mojave, just north of Palm Springs, is the more vital, if mildly unlikely, nexus for American art. The site of Andrea Zittel’s High Desert Test Sites (and other Angeleno invasions), the city borders a national park (Joshua Tree) and boasts the largest Marine Corps training base in the US (plus all that comes with that). I was first welcomed there by Jack Pierson, an expert on the area. He taught me to keep an eye out for the signs reading MARINE HAIRCUT—with a happy ending, anyone?

  10. JACKIE MCALLISTER (1962–2012)

    I’m sure every artist reading this could fill an entire issue of Artforum with praise for their art teachers, the art world’s unsung heroes. My list would begin: Colin de Land, David Karlin, Mike Kelley, Hans Haacke, Jeffrey Vallance, Chris Osinski, Julia Scher, Doug Ashford, Greg Crewdson, Tom Roma, Niki Logis, Jim Welling, Ersy Schwartz, Dennis Childers, Jane Beckwith, Walter Robinson, Larry Johnson, David Rimanelli, Gary Indiana, Annette Weintraub, Maria Politarhos, and, without a doubt, Jackie McAllister—a man who took his words very seriously and who schooled me on the gallery system when I was still a teenager. Jackie was genuinely interested in people and, most admirably, in preserving historical memory. He was certainly the best historian of American Fine Arts Co. and of Colin de Land. In 1995, my group Art Club 2000 staged a retrospective of Jackie’s work at Transmission Gallery in Glasgow, his hometown. Jackie couldn’t join us, but graciously lent us a bunch of his art and family artifacts and even helped us lug it out to Newark airport. Much of his output in the early ’90s was true “identity art”—a large Saint Andrew’s cross (the Scottish flag) made Pollock style; his family tartan constructed out of Legos—which fit our intended message about imported cultural relativism and institutional critique perfectly. For the show, we blew up Jackie’s signature and painted it across an entire wall. To our surprise, the connection was less obvious to the Glaswegian art crowd, who got really drunk and angry at the opening. They assumed we’d invented Jackie and faked all the work; that our show was some kind of insult to the Scots. Of course we had no such thing in mind. For us, Jackie was the embodiment of Scotland in New York City—the only Scot we ever knew.

    *Jackie McAllister and Colin de Land, American Fine Arts Co. Christmas party, New York, 1994.* Photo: Patterson Beckwith. Jackie McAllister and Colin de Land, American Fine Arts Co. Christmas party, New York, 1994. Photo: Patterson Beckwith.