The opening reception for PEZ and Joshua Blank is happening at FIFTY24SF Gallery tonight from 7:30PM – 10:00PM. And in that spirit we give you this essay from The Citrus Report about the show and PEZ and Josh:
The press release for You Can’t Win has an interesting centerpiece quote that is worth noting right away to put the entire show in context…
“We were and are both very depressed individuals and do not really view ourselves as really fitting into any group, but as persons who kind of sit on the cusp of several. More as loners than anything else.”
-PEZ and Joshua Blank
What we find interesting in this quote is what does one, or in this case, two, do when they feel depressed, not fitting into a group, like loners, and on the periphery? Of course in the case of PEZ and Joshua Blank, there is a bit of graffiti, stickering, and ‘zine making involved in coping (if we can call it coping) with being a depressed, artistic individual. But that seems a bit simplistic of what You Can’t Win is all about. We don’t think the show is about being on the outside looking in, as the quote seems to suggest, but rather an exhibition of being in the inside looking further to the inside.
Both PEZ and Blank’s work captures a mood of being found. In PEZ’ work, his iconic graffiti style is applied onto found album covers, vinyl, and stickers. It fits the graffiti and stickering; crawling and popping out of city walls and zines; colorful, spontaneous, between the cracks. It creeps up onto record sleeves, onto found paintings, and discarded wood. These are the things that the inside finds and uses when the outside has no use for it anymore; a painting of a sawmill that PEZ found on the street has now been re-imagined with his distinct colorful re-branding. Saw goes for a large coastal painting that is PEZ largest piece in the show: the beach now has an over-turned car and day-glo pyramids.
And then there are Joshua’s photographs: they allow all of us to be voyeurs into a world we have never been given access to. One of the main photos on his wall is of Dash Snow, powerful not because of the infamous nature of the recently passed-artist, but of the nature of the shot itself. Only the inside has been here, with no outsider filter or poised expectation, just two artists in the moment of non-preconceived notions of art and graffiti. They are just there, not self-conscious but self-aware. And with all of Blank’s photos, everyone is just there, being, living, not acting or living out others’ fantasies of what an artistic life should look like. That is why the Snow portrait, along with the other portraits in the show, feel so real: because they just are….
Of course, not beat the idea over the head, but the new “You Can’t Win” zine, recreated with new photos for this exhibition after a hiatus of nearly seven years between collaborative zines between PEZ and Blank, is the ultimate insider edition. Photos of friends, walls, stickers, and various daily scenes previously gone unnoticed are all in there. One of our favorite shots in the zine is of a postman sitting inside an empty and open mail drop. It one of the moments that you can’t fake, can’t pose, you just have to be there.
That is theme of the entire PEZ / Joshua Blank show, that you just have to be there. You can’t fake life, you can’t fake a photo, and you can’t let even the most mundane and forgotten objects pass you by. You have to notice everything, and use everything, and be in the moment. And if being there means being depressed, a loner, or standing on the periphery, it seems like the place to be.