If you’ve ever tried to convince your parents that the bong they found hidden in your closet was an abstract sculpture, The Bong Show, or This Is Not a Pipe will be right up your alley. For her first curatorial project, Beverly Semmes “wondered what would happen when serious artists contemplated a culturally marginal object (a bong, for example).”
Semmes’ colleagues turned in tongue-in-cheek paraphernalia—an assortment of artworks designed in various media that straddle “the limits of art and craft, public and private, high and low, and going with the flow.” The highlights are as follows: Ann Agee produced an ashtray stimulated by a sex-ed manual. Elaine Reichek quaintly cross-stitched her rendition of René Magritte’s The Treachery Of Images complete with the French phrase for “This is not a pipe.” Aura Rosenberg stashed a bitsy pipe into the hollowed out carcass of Walter Benjamin’s book On Hashish. And while we might’ve debated over whether Ursula von Rydingsvard’s sculptures in Madison Square Park were a bonnet, a cave, or a vagina, there’s no questioning what the wooden “bowl” she submitted for this exhibit is really for.
To top it all off, “Pass the Dutchie” plays in the background at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects as you peruse the art. Sure the exhibit, which closes January 20, might be perpetuating the stereotype that artists do drugs, but as L. C. Chambers once said, “A bong can be such a pretty item.”
John Miller's new cover treatment for What Color is Your Parachute (pictured)