Monday, February 6, 2012

Eat, Drink, Create: The B(A)NO{S} Show

The complete works of B(A)NO{S} will be on view and for sale at This Must be the Place Gallery this month. The opening reception is Friday, Feb 10 at 6pm.

In the mid 1990s, Milton Carter was invited to attend Boys Night Out with a group of older guys in Asheville, NC who met once a week. Everyone chipped in a dollar and they had different themed nights, like jam (music) night or bowling but it was basically a frat hangout for art dudes. After moving to New York, Carter proposed the idea of a "boys night out" for artists to his new friends: designer Derick Holt, painter Harrison Marshall, graphic artist Mike Reddy, and later illustrator and artist Nathan Gelgud. Gatherings would be used to make and discuss art--not just as excuses to get out of the house. {Society} was added—tongue partially in cheek—with the intention of creating a fraternal organization with outposts in different cities. Dues were raised to five dollars. And so, in 2008, B(A)NO{S} was born.

Organized around semi-regular meetings, B(A)NO{S} projects take place in one night. Members rotate hosting duties, and create a project based on certain materials, concepts, or inspiration. In addition to devising the project, the host also cooks dinner for the other members. With a few exceptions, each member must begin and complete his piece that evening.

At a typical meeting, time constricted art-making takes place amidst an environment of food prep, a generous amount of snacks, responsible drinking, and general buffoonery punctuated by a steady stream of personal insults. Each member’s personal work outside of B(A)NO{S} is given serious discussion. Every meeting is meant to push the limits of every participant’s skill and to give him the opportunity to assess his life as an artist alongside other like-minded artists with similar pursuits.

The work on view represents the complete B(A)NO{S} catalogue up to now. In the few cases where the original work was not available, photos fill the gap. Also on view are some works that are the results of collaborations between certain members made outside of meetings, many of which apply techniques developed in B(A)NO{S}, and all of which are made in the spirit of camaraderie that is vital to the group.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Propaganda Posters

Host: NG at MR's

NG, who's been reading a A Portrait of David Hockney by Peter Webb, read about that painter's very early series of "vegetarian paintings" like "Cruel Elephant," and proposed that (B)ANO[S] members create some propaganda of their own. After some discussion, it was decided that members would all do posters on topics of their own choosing.

NG uses a slogan and self-portraits to make an anti-nukes statment. The use of glasses provides a through-line, from the reflection of the bomb to the way the frames are left sitting on the skull, providing consistency to the series of images. The pun of the slogan (which provides another through-line, back to the newspaper in the first panel) juxtaposes with the solemnity of the sentiment.

DH took the classic marijuana-legalization theme and created a kinetic, bold poster with immediate impact. He uses clear iconography (a joint, breaking handcuffs) and a classic red-black color scheme to get the message across, and the text has the one-two punch of slogan-statement above and below the drawing.

MR's poster is a playful departure from classic protest themes and the typical clarity of propaganda art. He makes a cheeky statement about social aid. His imagery contains anachronism, as it recalls bygone Cold War paranoia even as the poster references the freshly-retired space shuttle, nevermind that neither the Cold War nor NASA have much of anything to do with Social Security or Medicaid. A sly subversion of the night's theme, in true B(A)NO[S] spirit.
MC used a very worthy environmental cause in order to work with a subject important to his life, livelihood, and aesthetic: the beach. His weeping seagull references a watershed moment in the history of anti-pollution campaigns (note the Native American headdress in his prep sketch below), and his cartoonish waves reference his own work in patterns and textiles. His drawings have a naive innocence that makes the destruction of the shores they depict especially saddening.

Preparatory Drawings:

Further reading: Angry Graphics by Karrie Jacobs and Steven Heller
The other B(A)NO[S] poster project.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Working With Leather

Host: MC

This was a wide open project, the only guideline being to make something with the leather and tools provided by our host. Creation of an art object, rather than something strictly decorative was encouraged, but--as often discussed--that border is a porous one.

Taking his inspiration from Hermes scarves,
DH used chalk to sketch a design and an X-Acto to etch it in,
creating a muscular rendering, almost a repeating pattern, of
rope interplaying with free-floating pillars

MC's menagerie covers Pop figuration, American Southwest
decorative emblems with silhouette and stitching,
a Guston-inspired ghost with jewel eyes,
and the bold simplicity of  a two-tone rectangle with clear dimensionality

Special guest MM's bird figure also evokes an American Southwest folk/outsider piece, and makes effective use of the creepy accoutrement of a trained hooded condor

MR's lumbering horse has multiple layers but remains
obstinately flat, with a playful leather string curling out from the face, and a defiant hole punched into the base layer

After an early struggle, NG created an homage to the
cigarette-holding hands and watches of B(A)NO[S] fave Philip Guston

 Prior to the above, NG made a beastly totem figure,
using orange paint and yellow chalk

See these photos as well as process documentation here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

African Masks

Host: DH

After viewing this inspiring web gallery provided by our host, members created African masks using cardboard, paint, fabric, and glue. This project went especially well, and the results speak for themselves.

MC's textiles-inspired war mask

preliminary drawings

DH's tribal mask as Viking helmet

Preliminary drawing

MR's oversized festival mask

Test sketches

NG's eyes-above-the-bushes attack mask

 preliminary drawing

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Contemporary Art and Design

Details and documentation forthcoming.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shapes of Things

Host: MC at Cleopatra's Gallery

This project was unique in that it was open to the public. For one evening,  B(A)NO[S] occupied Brooklyn gallery Cleopatra's, set up a movie screen and a digital projector, ordered some upside-down pizzas, and invited friends and their friends to help create a wall of cut-out shapes.

The goal was to explore the iconic quality of something's (or someone's) shape when devoid of line, shade, and color using scissors and black paper.

As participants finished cut-outs, they were encouraged to tape them to the wall to create a one-night exhibition at a sort of pop-up gallery within a gallery.

Many participants drew free-hand with scissors, some even without visual references. Others drew with a pencil from photos or objects in the gallery before cutting out.


Friday, January 21, 2011


Details and documenation forthcoming.