NEW ORLEANS, LA.- Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
presents "I Speak As I Please", new sculpture by Los Angeles artist David Buckingham in his first solo exhibition in New Orleans. As a native New Orleanian, Buckingham will explore the profound effect that growing up in the city can have on both its citizens and on those whom - for various misfortunes - it has lost.
David Buckingham will bring his unique brand of metal sculpture to New Orleans for the annual Art For Arts' Sake opening of the New Orleans Arts season this October. His exhibition will feature his trademark sculptures of word phrases, movie lines and famous guns created from old, battered colorful metal reclaimed from race cars, trucks, hay balers, rice threshers, school buses and the like discovered in the High Mojave Desert.
Of the new suite of works to be exhibited in New Orleans, Buckingham says: "You can't be a Louisiana boy and grow up in New Orleans without being profoundly affected by it for the rest of your life, and for my first solo show at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery I will be mining memories of many things that 'ain't dere no more'.
When I think of New Orleans, I think of nectar creams at the K+B fountain on Broadway at St Charles, the late great Buster Holmes restaurant, rushing home from high school on the streetcar to read Tommy Griffin's column in the States Item, sportscaster Hap Glaudi, weatherman extraordinaire Nash Roberts, my Schwegmann's hurricane tracking map, Dixie Beer's infamous bad batch of '75, my 1984 World's Fair pass, concerts at the Warehouse, Professor Longhair live at Tip's when it opened in '77, the intoxicating fragrance of magnolias in bloom, greeting the sunrise from atop Audubon Park's Monkey Hill, attending the first rock concert in the newly opened Louisiana Superdome in '75, being able to drive through Audubon Park at all hours, several nights in Central Lockup, 'submarine races' at the Lakefront, ODing on cholesterol at Deanie's in Bucktown, hearing my grandfather speak Cajun French with his friends (they always switched to French when they didn't want us kids to know what they were talking about), Ruthie the Duck Lady, Morgus the Magnificent, the razing of Pontchartrain Beach, brushing with Dr Tichenor's, Momus and Comus (R.I.P)., Archie Manning, the barbecued shrimp at Manale's, "Show your tits!", and holes in my Perlis alligator shirt from the burning flambeaux at Mardi Gras parades.
I am drawing on all of these things for my show. I left New Orleans many years ago, but New Orleans has never left me. It is my favorite city on the planet and to this day is the place I am most comfortable.
I know what it means to miss New Orleans.
Yeah you wrong!"
-David Buckingham, 2010
With an advertisting background, Buckingham worked at agencies in Boston, New York, Australia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In the early 90's he met Ray "Cowboy" Kelly, who had started a Lower East Side movement called the Rivington School, a group of anarchist welders and poets and performance artists who had taken over an abandoned lot on Rivington Street.
Moving to Los Angeles in the mid 90's, Buckingham became obsessed with making art. Venturing into the Mojave, he discovered tons of old, battered colorful metal - ancient cars, trucks, hay balers, rice threshers, school buses - and began to work exclusively with these materials. Having spent 20 years as a professional writer, text and words play an integral role in his artwork. Lines from movies are central to many of his pieces that reflect on the major business role movies play in L.A. and perverse impact on our cultural identity. Mass culture that has been pounded into his head for nearly 45 years now acts as a catalyst in his artwork. Cartoon sound effects, guns of infamous assassins and text lines are created from the man-made detritus of a desert landscape.
David Buckingham's work is in several notable collections including Steven Bochco, Josh Groban, Gwen Stephani, Seth Rogen , Perez Hilton, Prada/Milan and The Cisneros Foundation. His work has been exhibited in New York (O.K Harris) and in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and St. Louis. "I Speak As I Please" is his first solo exhibition in New Orleans.
Los Angeles Art Critic Peter Frank writes in an upcoming catalog of Buckingham's work: "David Buckingham does not make signs. Maybe you could say that he welds poetry, but that credits him for his phrases more than he wants to be. Rather, Buckingham records the language of his time and place in a durable but flexible substance - a substance arguably as durable and flexible as language itself. What we say - and how we say it - to one another may seem like so much smoke signaling; but Buckingham thinks that our language, even at its roughest, has a monumental quality to it, and brings out that quality in a manner at once as modern as the words and as timeless as the impulse to speech itself."
The exhibition opens with an artist reception on Saturday October 2, 2010 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the annual Art For Arts' Sake opening of the New Orleans Arts season.