WHERE: Copro/Nason Gallery, 11265 Washington Bl., Culver City, Ca. 90230
WHAT: "New Disasterware" from Charles Krafft & Mike Leavitt's "Art Army®" - 2 man art exhibition
DATE: June 11 through July 2, 2005 opening reception June 11, 8:00 - 11:30 p.m. (Artists will be present)
CONTACT: Gary Pressman, Gallery Director, Copro/Nason Gallery
"Never Look a Gift Shoppe in the Mouth" reads the inscription on Charles Krafft's signature Disasterware plate. A self-taught easel painter in the tradition of the Northwest School , Charlie changed course in the early 90's when he began painting natural and socio-political Catastrophes in delft on found restaurant china. Thus began his career as a ceramics artist, which has taken him to battle zones in Bosnia , Hells Angels hangouts in Amsterdam and cemeteries in Seattle . Krafft's picture plates, porcelain Weaponry, human bone china reliquaries, and recent "kreepy kitsch" handmade n Holland will be shown at Copro/Nason gallery's latest exhibit called "New Diasasterware".
Krafft's newest "Diasasterware", was made during A recent residency at the European Ceramic Work Center (EKWC) in s'-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands . According to Charlie, "The Dutch are very proud of their ceramics tradition and they Weren’t thrilled with the way I play with it." 'Who buys your work?' they kept asking me. Of course, the windmills with the swastika blades upset them. I tried to explain that these are about Von Dutch not the Dutch themselves. The idea of making porcelain with crematory ash - Spone - had never occurred to them so I had trouble qualifying that concept, too. I found the Belgians more receptive."
Krafft chafes at the more theoretical side of the art world. As he puts it, "I've always found the lowbrow fringe of contemporary pop culture infinitely more fertile than the high falutin' academic mainstream.": He further notes "When it comes to exchanging vital information on the nuts and bolts of art making I prefer the company of criminals, undertakers, and blue haired grannies." What does the future hold for Charles Krafft? "Galleries and museums are fine, but the drill gets tedious. As relief from the predictability of exhibiting in those spaces I've been known to reach out to the non- museum and gallery going public with events in places you don't usually go for an art experience like pawnshops, cemeteries, parking lots (selling art off the back of a truck),tattoo parlors and taverns. Plans are afoot now to do something in an abandoned brig."
Seattle native Michael Leavitt is a craftsperson, designer, engineer, performer, and educator. Using whimsy, political prodding and professional manufacturing techniques he builds toys,fine art collectibles, mini housing, motorized gadgets, and street theater gags. Mike's latest project is called the "Art Army®". They are small sculptures that have the look of a mass produced object yet are meticulously made by hand and are one of a kind. The Art Army® action figures are made with synthetic polymer clay called Fimo and elastic. No paint is used, meaning each minute detail down to the tiniest dot, is carved out and applied in different colors of clay. Art Army's newest characters are the largest and most detailed to date. They are composed of several body part pieces and mini accessories with a glass dome and plastic base. Hidden features are built into many figures, including movable ears, opening heads, revolving chest panels, and removable bodily implants.