After three years (already?!) of mounting shows in the ever-endearing smallness of Chinatown’s Bernard Street cul-de-sac glass closet (née Trudi under the guidance of Matthew Chambers), Brian Kennon’s 2nd Cannons is closing with a final exhibition of the Institute of Social Hypocrisy. The Institute of Social Hyposcrisy (ISH) is the collaborative, Paris-based project of artist Victor Boullet. Calling itself “a protracted performance piece,” ISH (Boullet) invites artists into its organization structure to mount installations and program events in its exhibition space and to direct one of its biannually published fanzines (which is available through 2nd Cannons Publications). Collaborating artists have included Dag Erik Elgin, Merlin Carpenter, and Edie McKay. It rhymes nicely, then, that ISH—a bureaucratically styled artist-run project space in Paris based on invitational collaborations—should be invited to do a show, collaboratively installed by Kennon, in 2nd Cannons, an artist-run project space and publishing house in LA.
Boullet directed the show from afar via a series of long-distance instructions and transactions: A large, black and white print of a sheet of ISH stationary with smudged charcoal all-caps scrawl that reads “I wish I were a homo-sexual” was printed in New York and then shipped to LA where it was hung casually, covering the entire single front-facing wall of 2nd Cannons’ vitrine. Two 8 1/2 x 11 pages are clipped to the left edge and two to the right edge of the print. One standout sheet is a typed text full of self-doubting reflexivities overlaid by or on top of a charcoal portrait of a Don Quixote-esque long-faced figure, one guesses perhaps a tormented dreamer of the above stated wish to be a homosexual (a perhaps understandable desire for those congregating in a certain neck of the art woods or for anyone methodically reading through Bruce Hainley’s oeuvre, until you find out from a gay friend that people constantly/stupidly voice this empty wish, flippantly and lacking awareness).
A water-pump motor was purchased online and delivered to Kennon who was instructed to place it in any big bucket he had, which turned out to be one of those low-walled metal basins, fill it with water and put it in the middle of the tiny space’s bit of fake wood laminate floor. The result is an ad-hoc gurgling fountain that splashes all over the floor and drenched the skirt of the hanging print. The fountain is like a bird bath, but for empty beer cans that bobbed on its surface, deposited by drinkers during the opening. Boullet’s rules required that only two kinds of blue and silver cans were permitted to play in the fountain, Coors and another maybe Bud.
Kennon’s brief goodbye note (punctuated by a sweet parodic bite at his gallerist peers and the current trend in LA gallery geography) warrants having the penultimate words here: “2nd Cannons is pleased to announce the last exhibition in our Chinatown project space/vitrine. We will not be moving to Culver City (if we were moving we would move to Hollywood). Please join us at the opening this Saturday to mark the end of the exhibition project, which is also the occasion of its third anniversary. Many thanks to all who exhibited, to those who came out and to those who watched from afar.”
Over its three-year span, 2nd Cannons presented wonderful shows by Matthew Chambers, Darren Bader, Brendan Fowler, Cynthia Maughan, Fama & Fortune Bulletin, Lisa Williamson, Jim Skuldt, Julie Lequin, David Horvitz, Sayre Gomez, Dexter Sinister, Bobbi Woods, Matthew Grover, Katie Aliprando, and Victor Boullet. Well done. While the exhibition space closes, 2nd Cannons Publications lives on robustly. 2nd Cannons is dead; Long live 2nd Cannons.