Thurs June 25, NYC: MERMAIDS VERSUS UNICORNS, curated by Byron Coley and Jo Robertson


Jordon Wolfson, The Forest From Above in Reverse, 2006 (Image courtesy of Johann König, Berlin)

Curated by Byron Coley and Jo Robertson
June 25 – August 14, 2009

557 West 23rd Street in West Chelsea

Opening: Thursday, June 25, 6-8pm

Rachal Bradley
Peter Coffin
Byron Coley
Martin Creed
Cyprien Gaillard
Manuela Gernedel
Celia Hempton
Shana Moulton
Sav X
Jo Robertson
Eduardo Sarabia
Lucy Stein
Jordon Wolfson

In the Year of the Swine Flu, this Decade of the Cur, there is no longer such a thing as Good Taste. Even things that please the semiotic tongue are rank. If that’s even possible. And it is.

Over the last several years, Jo Robertson in London and Byron Coley in rural Massachusetts have kept up a running dialogue discussing what happens when you get beyond Good. They have found that that we seem to ache for art that creates and fulfills a person narrative, no matter how fractured.

A conversation about the girlish swagger of Ted Hughes and the nawhale-like compression of Sylvia Plath acted as the driving force behind the evolution of Mermaids vs. Unicorns. This idea recurred and eventually developed into the explorative concept that would facilitate this show to venture across geographical and stylistic borders.

On June 25th, I-20 debuts their second collaborative exhibition. The show is comprised of thirteen artists from Berlin, Guadalajara, London, New York and Paris. The artists all contribute an open dialogue between archetypes, relating to the differences between earth and sea.

Mermaids vs. Unicorns presents the viewer with a number of mediums ranging from photography to ceramic installation to oil painting. The theme allows for a variety of interpretations, from the literal to the extreme. Frolics are enjoyed, identities are stolen or obliterated, communication breaks down, and the mammals will lie down with the fish.

– Byron Coley

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.

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