May 2010, Art from the New World @ The City Museum & Art Gallery

David Stoupakis, Resurrection, 2010
Courtesy of the artist and The City Museum & Art Gallery; photo credit Chris Osburn

Art from the New World
The City Museum & Art Gallery
Queen's Road
Bristol, BS8 1RL
15 May through 22 August, 2010

LA came to the UK with the opening of Art from the New World, a ground-breaking group show at The City Museum & Art Gallery in Bristol, England. Expertly assembled by the acclaimed Los Angeles art space, Corey Helford Gallery, the exhibition featured works by 49 of America's edgiest contemporary artists. And if that wasn't enough to draw folks to Bristol for the Friday May 14th opening, an appearance by the one and only Dita Von Teese launched the exhibition with a short but oh so sultry burlesque performance.

Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her television producing husband Bruce Helford, Corey Helford Gallery in LA's Culver City Art District stands at the vanguard of the new fine art moment representing weird art notables such as Shag and Gary Baseman – both of whom were exhibiting and in attendance at the opening along with a hefty roster of other American artists who'd made the transatlantic schlep for the occasion. Among the other artists on hand for the opening were Sylvia Ji, Josh Petker and David Stoupakis.

With big name artists and the likes of Dita Von Teese mingling about, you might expect such a mega show to wind up, if only by default, in London. However, for the exhibition Corey Helford Gallery opted for Bristol. Obviously not the all encompassing metropolis that is London, Bristol nevertheless proved an excellent location. Situated in an Edwardian Baroque building with a range of objects from dinosaurs to classic works of art … along with permanent collection pieces by hometown antihero Banksy, Bristol's City Museum & Art Gallery provided plenty of space for the opening night crowd and for the roving humans-as-installation-pieces created by Gary Baseman. Massive works, particularly Buff Monster's Installation for Art from the New World, were allowed the breathing room to wow viewers – and the space for said viewers to see such pieces with proper perspective.

The highlights of the show were many. At the museum's entrance, Mike Stilkey's An Unusual Evening, consisting of 2000 books that form a ten foot “canvas”, suggested to attendees this was no ordinary exhibition, while a few steps in, Buff Monster's fifteen foot tall “ice cream cone” balloon sculpture confirmed the take no prisoners approach of many of the Art from the New World pieces. On loan from the Corey Helford private collection, Todd Schorr's An Ape Allegory intrigued with surrealist pop style that was at once delightful and eerie. As for Von Teese, her striptease schtick was pure class. On stage for barely 15 minutes, Dita gave just enough to get the heart pumping and to leave plenty of va-va-room to the imaginations of the crowds.

No stranger to great and controversial art, Bristol promises a hot summer for fans of America's more off kilter contemporary art. Corey Helford Gallery's Art from the New World at The City Museum & Art Gallery in Bristol, England is free and open to the public until the 22nd of August 2010.


Mike Stilkey, An Unusual Evening, 2010
Courtesy of the artist and The City Museum & Art Gallery
; photo credit Chris Osburn


Josh Petker and Sylvia Ji hanging out at the opening; photo credit Chris Osburn


One of Gary Baseman's costumed characters with Buff Monster's fifteen foot tall “ice cream cone” balloon sculpture in the background
; photo credit Chris Osburn


Dita Von Teese Performing at the opening of Art From the New World
; photo credit Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is an American transplant living in London where he has a blast working as a freelance photographer, writer, consultant, blogger and more. 

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