Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quentin Tarantino vs. the Coen Brothers: Fine Art Deathmatch

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Steve Seeley's "Four Eyes" - KATE CONGER
  • Kate Conger
  • Steve Seeley's "Four Eyes"
This month, Spoke Art Gallery presents "Quentin vs. Coen," a show that consists of more than100 artists picking sides in the greatest-cult-film-director-ever debate and campaigning for their candidate in paint, print, and sculpture.

The resulting walls are lined floor to ceiling with likenesses of Jeff Bridges and Steve Buscemi, guns, vulvas, and blood spatters. The show incites viewers to ask those deep questions art is supposed to inspire: What blunt-trauma weapon would you rather arm yourself with, a captive bolt pistol or a mace? Is Uma Thurman sultrier as a coked-out dancing queen in Pulp Fiction or as a vengeful yellowjacket in Kill Bill?

More interesting, however, than pitting Tarantino against the Coens was the treasure hunt for parallels between their films. One piece that caught my eye was a two-panel set of portraits by Evanimal featuring Big Dan (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Rooster Cogburn (True Grit).

click to enlarge Evanimal's portraits inspired by Coen films. - KATE CONGER
  • Kate Conger
  • Evanimal's portraits inspired by Coen films.
Seen only in silhouette, their identities are revealed by their matching eye-patches. Oddly, the Coens' rendition of Cogburn wears his patch over his right eye, matching Big Dan, instead of following John Wayne's precedent in the 1969 True Grit of wearing it over his left. Elle Driver of Kill Bill also wears her patch over the right eye. Art historical lesson learned: if you're going to become a one-eyed badass, make sure you lose your right eye, not your left.

My favorite pieces went a step beyond rote fandom and adapted the black humor of the chosen film to the two-dimensional surface. San Francisco's own Serge Gay Jr. made an impression with his take on Reservoir Dogs, in which he painted the cast with canine heads. There's an eerily close resemblance between the Mr. Pink dog and Steve Buscemi.

click to enlarge The Reservoir Dogs, courtesy of San Francisco's Serge Gay, Jr. - KATE CONGER
  • Kate Conger
  • The Reservoir Dogs, courtesy of San Francisco's Serge Gay, Jr.
(Gay, Jr, will be showing at Spoke Art again when it reopens in August after renovations.)

Up Next: The Dude on a tapestry

  • Pin It

About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"