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Sugar and Spice 

An art exhibit to tickle you, surprise you, and buoy your spirits intelligently

Wednesday, Sep 15 2004
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Reality is grim. Not only is there a war on, but also Blind Date continues to enforce idiocy and hatred between sexy singles nightly. For anyone smarter than the morons who appear on "reality" TV shows -- and we're guessing this means you -- simple escapism isn't much of an option. Maybe you even want to make things better, but every time you pull your head out of your fantasies of happiness (read: every time you sober up), you get overwhelmed. You need a "Spoonful of Sugar."

Curator Jackie Sumell put together this art exhibit intending to tickle you, surprise you, and buoy your spirits in an intelligent way. It's a wacky idea, one we can just hear snooty gallery owners rejecting: "Political and funny? Kinda unprofessional, don't you think?" But Sumell was determined to see her plan in action, and told us on the phone recently that she sees the exhibition as "a rejuvenating, self-preserving" method of marrying art and political thought.

She's excited about the works and the artists, with good reason. Our favorite, Michael Arcega, is submitting Tanks Angst, featuring 300 tiny tanks "taking over" a corner of the gallery. "It's a 'power in numbers' kind of thing, and totally typical Mike Arcega: hyperdetailed," said Sumell.

Also worthy of note is Packard Jennings' Terrorist Alert Fictitious Today, a dead-on replica of a Forest Service "Fire Danger" sign, complete with interchangeable alert levels. Instead of the official colors of the Homeland Security Advisory System, the outdoor installation features panels that say "Deceptive," "Periwinkle," "Manipulative," and the like. It's damn funny, damn smart, and damn good art. Based on Sumell's descriptions of the other contributors' work, we're sure that goes for them as well, including pieces by art-world heavy hitter Kristin Lucas.

Sumell's own contribution is a bald eagle piñata, to be ceremoniously opened at the exhibit's reception. Delightfully unprofessional, and way better than Blind Date.

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Hiya Swanhuyser

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