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Seth Bogart’s installation in the downstairs space at 356 Mission is a cartoon-hued playhouse of oversized handmade retail beauty products both real and imaginary. Two giant, crudely sculpted legs kicking up out of the floor anchor a product display for “Mantyhose”: leg support for men. Printed self-advertisements for “The Show” are sewn into both haute-retail garments and changing-room curtains, alongside a coffin-like sculpture of a tanning bed. In the age of installations that seem to draw from 90s-era Urban Outfitters floorplans, Bogart completes the allusion, giving the logic of retail display full reign.
Bogart’s vocabulary is immediately recognizable: Gary Panter’s iconic stage and set designs for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the infinitely permutable animated patterns that festooned Manhattan Design’s logo for MTV, and the handicrafted buffets of inedible globs at Claes Oldenburg’s 60s Pop Art masterpiece The Store. In some cases the paraphrases are direct. (One sculpture is modeled on Chairy, Pee Wee’s talking armchair.)
The emphatically sloppy sculptural craft is somewhat indifferent, and that presumably is the point. This is a show that seems meant to be taken in through the 600 pixel squares of an Instagram feed. Like the attention vortex of sports TV in a bar, it is Bogart’s videos that ultimately anchor the show. In the videos, spazzy 80s electro-pop flurries of hand-painted MTV-style motion graphics overlay Bogart’s sung performances and clips of women that look like extras from John Waters movies; all are happily liberated from the weight of narrative. Bogart’s singing is infectiously snotty, at his best sounding like an extra whiney Joey Ramone, steering away from critique and heading straight for complicity. To hear Bogart tell it, punks just wanna shop.
The Seth Bogart Show runs from September 3 – October 2, 2015 at 356 Mission (356 S. Mission Road., Los Angeles, CA 90033)