October 7th, 2007

Down the Runway, Into the Bus

I can count the number of times I’ve been to the AGH on one hand. It’s embarrassing in a way. I’m a fourth year art major, and every time I go I tell myself, “I really should do this more often!” because I’m always met with something new and inspiring.

This time around, It was the very same story. I encountered exhibits that explored visual languages by means I’ve never encountered.

The exhibit we came to see was RUNWAY: Contemporary Fashion by Richard Robinson. I was immediately intrigued by this collection. The world of fashion is fascinating, on and off the runway. What struck me most was seeing these divine creations in a gallery, as opposed to an E! Red Carpet Special. It reclaimed the fashion world as a valid form of artistic expression, and validated the craft that is fashion design.

It was with a similar attitude that I approached my favorite work in the gallery, Kim Adams “Bruegal-Bosh Bus”. I simply cannot do justice to this ongoing installation piece. It is, in a word, magical. At first glance, it almost seemed as if Adams had taken my childhood and encapsulated for all eternity. The work, in simplest terms, is built around an orange 1970’s Volkswagen bus. The bus is covered in toys, planes, trains, automobiles and everything in between. It’s like the ultimate altar to 21st centaury pop-culture. It’s whimsical and capricious - and yet, at the same time, there is a very disturbing quality to the piece. The gallery wall notes rightly label it as “a futuristic diorama…a funhouse, but also prompting to the serial preoccupations looming large in the 21st Century – consumerism, materialism, homogenization of cultures…”

The very place in which the bus sat added to this dark quality subverting the work. Directly behind the bus is a large glass window, through which we see a breath-taking view of the city. The city, in all it’s grime and glory, it’s smoke stacks and its mountain tops, appears to be the very place that inspired Adams to create this “dialectical vehicle”.

 It’s a site and spectacle to behold. It gives new meaning to musty toys that were previously regarded as mere remnants from a life spent inside the play-pen.  And it may very well be the most accurate reflection of the post-modern world that we live in. It truly is a tower of Babel for the 21st century.