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Review: Spa Cast and Tuff Enough 

New work at Pelican Bomb Gallery X and Scott Edwards Gallery

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To celebrate its fifth birthday, the Pelican Bomb art website opened an exhibition space, Gallery X, in Central City. Its inaugural exhibit explores an unusual theme: parties though the ages. Curated by Theo Eliezer and Micah Learned of Momma Tried magazine, the opening night fete evoked a makeshift Brooklyn disco with decor by Bywater expats. The exhibit resembles the site of a Society of St. Anne marching subkrewe bash on the morning after. Life-size photo cutouts of friends of the curators arrayed as campy Greek gods and goddesses greet visitors in the front room. A surrealistic parlor suggesting a local Mad Hatter's tea party features weird taxidermied animals, wacko bric-a-brac and eggshells with fortune-cookie messages inside. Beyond a silver foil wall lies the Glory Hole Bar, an art installation celebrating the "grime and glamour" of the Andy Warhol factory years. It's very high concept, but it all makes sense if you can channel the ghost of Robert Mapplethorpe.

  At Scott Edwards Gallery, Meg Turner's series of 20 tintype portraits rendered as large photogravures reflects her version of family values, but the extended family she portrays is a pretty edgy lot. Comprising butch ladies and sometimes willowy guys, it includes Meredith — My Wyfe and Her Motorcycle (pictured), and Courtney, a female boxer throwing punches, as well as Owen, a dapper contortionist in a vintage swimsuit and others including gun-toting cowgirls and a cat puppeteer: Case — Mayor Marshmellow and the Bywater Kitten Boys. No Barbie dolls ever will be diverse enough to encompass this bunch, but the folks seen in seaside group photos such as Sometimes We Call It Goth Beach radiate an old-time family vibe, albeit with John Waters overtones. Turner's unusually empathic images telegraph that family is what you create with your nearest and dearest here and now, in your everyday life.


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