IN THE MAIN SPACE: ON PLATFORMING
Platforming is an art of building. Not simply running
an art gallery, moderating a panel discussion, hosting
a radio show, putting on a talent showcase, making a
web-TV station, or organizing an outdoor experimental
film festival; none of these activities themselves
would necessarily constitute platforming, were it not
for the condition of their building, which contains an
immaterial mortar that holds the thing together. The
mortar is in part the aesthetic personality of the
platform maker, along with the unpredictable
confluences brought to the platform by the platformed
and the intended audience, all this combined with
certain elements that remain indefinable long after
the event or situation has taken place.
For its new show LOCUST PROJECTS invites five
platformers to work their magic.
Gaylen Gerber, steadfast godfather of platforming,
drops in with one of his site-specific “paintings”.
Made out of gray photographic backdrop paper that
covers all the walls of the exhibition area, Gerber’s
paintings negotiate a space between a critical
practice that highlights and questions the conditions
of institutional display and a more open and inclusive
collaborative drive. At Locust, all the other artists
will be working over his painting.
Nicholas Frank is probably the most versatile of
platformers. He’s maintained a gallery, organized a
radio hour, and hosted a lecture series, among many
other activities. For this show, he will organize the
“Locust Branch” of his Nicholas Frank Public Library.
Unlike other public libraries, the books in the NFPL
don’t come with their contents already in place. It is
the viewers who are to contribute—however they see
fit—the content to otherwise blank books. The
collections of the NFPL are depots of local knowledge
and personal _expression.
Since 1997, Paul Druecke has been collecting snapshots
from regular folks involved in what may be considered
social activities—birthdays parties, half-court
basketball games, luncheons, etc. Collectively, this
group of images, currently in the hundreds, is known
as “A Social Event Archive.” At Locust, Druecke will
show a selection of the archive and will invite
visitors to contribute their own images to it.
This is General Store’s second visit to Locust. Last
year, GS invited hundreds of artists to make drawings
with that old staple of high school nerd-dom—the
four-color pen. For this exhibition, GS will present a
selection of another project for which they invited
dozens of artists to produce their version of the
perfect mixtape. We’ll be cranking up the tunes.
Although the other four participants hail from the
Midwest and bring with them a hopeful and democratic
attitude, London-based John Russell brings in the
darkness. A former member of the too-little-known
collective BANK, Russell has been edited the
anthologies Frozen Tears and Frozen Tears II, to which
he has invited artists and writers—people as
dissimilar as Art & Language and Dennis Cooper—t o
contribute horror stories. Rusell shipped a selection
of his anthologies to Locust. On the way, however,
they were all first sent to some of the original
contributors so that they could be pissed on. To the
inclusive impulse of the Midwesterns, Russell pits the
nastiness of the body, the possibility of
contamination, the disaffection that often finds form
in disgusting adolescent gestures, a little foul odor
to mar all the joy in the room.