empathy

Of Frogs And Penises

The “I Killed My Father…” opening at Allegra LaViola Gallery was a nice shock from the daily grind. Within minutes of arriving I found myself face to face with a live penis. How often does one get to do that in NYC? Drop whatever you’re doing and run to see this exhibition!


Art & Tragedy


I sometimes wonder if “greatness” in the world of art is highly correlated to a miserable life and/or a tragic death. At the very least Pier Paolo Pasolini is proof of this conundrum. While he was a Renaissance Man known for his work in film and literature, he is also categorized as a philosopher, linguist, playwright, leftist, journalist and the list goes on. It stands to reason that someone who lived so boldly and felt so strongly would leave the world in much the same manner as the way they claimed it: Pier was brutality beaten and run over several times with his own car by a young street hustler nicknamed “The Frog.” Or at least that was the initial claim. Thirty years later his supposed killer claimed the deed was done by three unknown persons who had threatened his family if he did not take the blame. Apparently, Pier’s strong political stance and activism may have played a role in his being the target of such an atrocious act. And so, as seen too many times in human history, a great man and an even greater mind found its end seemingly far too soon.

 

Penises, Frogs and Watercolors…oh my!


This exhibition is comprised of artists who have taken their love for Pier or what he inspired in others and created a collection that will push you out of your comfort zone, smack you awake and bring you face to face with the invisible lines you have created within yourself. Indeed, I found myself confronted with my very own “borderline” within just ten minutes of arriving at the opening reception.

I’ll explain this but before I go any further, I must add this disclaimer: You will most likely see the word “penis” an uncomfortable number of times before you finish reading this. All those opposed to and/or squeamish about penises…please be advised. I am remarkably immature at times and should never have seen a naked man in a public place. However, although there is little if any nudity in the actual works on display, the performance held on the opening night was not as puritan. While discussing Pier’s life and demise with artists Aaron Kratch who presented his piece entitled “Sorry I Didn’t Love you (More, Ever)” I received quite an eyeful. He was in the middle of explaining the purpose of the jars filled with watercolors and a large Ceratophrys or “Pac-Man” Frog when I turned to see a naked brown body make its way around the table.

You would probably have paid good money to see the shocked look on my face. In fact, the few viewers there had a pretty good laugh at my dramatic reaction. What was the point of this naked demonstration? Aaron felt that the hustler had been given a bad rap and most likely had not killed Pier. He felt his piece, which would allow both the naked man and equally naked frog to “Paint” for Pier, was a way for the hustler to seek penitence for his part in the crime.

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