Jon Haddock, a habitué of head shops when he was growing up in the early '70s, came up with Zeitgeist for The Headquarters, a smoke/head shop on University and Ash. For the museum display, he gathered old memorabilia from his youth (talk about flashes from the past) and shot a large photo of the collection against a bedspread. For the shop, he honed in on the current popularity of '40s and '50s gangster and criminal figures in pop iconography, creating his own addition to the pantheon of punks past for a poster that's now selling in the bins at The Headquarters. Haddock's poster highlights 36-year-old Edgar Valdez Villareal, a.k.a. "La Barbie," a former Texas football hero turned vicious, upper-echelon Mexican drug lord just busted in August for drug running and murder in Mexico City. La Barbie seems to be the latest reincarnation of Jesus Malverde, a Mexican robber hanged in the 1920s but who's been elevated to folk sainthood in recent years by Sinaloan drug dealers.

Other "Open for Business" undertakings, however, are less engaging or thought-provoking, mainly because they are too predictably literal in their approaches to the businesses with which the artists were teamed. Cyndi Coon's Park Here is the perfect example of this flaw. The piece, inspired by Downtown Tempe Community (DTC), sets up a short contest questionnaire about parking in a downtown Tempe parking garage. Fill it out and you just might win a DTC gift certificate and one of the weekly drawings done by the artist in response to answers submitted. Not to be outdone, Marco Rosichelli, teamed with Buffalo Exchange, buys thrift-store clothing in Montana, where he's relocated. He then sends his finds to Spiak, who takes the clothes to Buffalo Exchange to sell after tagging them as part of Rosichelli's art project. If a piece sells, the artist gets more money to buy more clothes for exchange; rejected items end up on a clothes rack in the gallery space.

Jen Urso didn't seem to go much beyond the obvious in taking on a different form, created in conjunction with The Bicycle Cellar, an innovative co-op located next to the light-rail's transit center for bike commuters. There, customers can rent a bike or securely store theirs, use showers, and purchase locker space before taking light rail to work. Urso filmed the paths of 10 bikers, made a map of their routes and created a video based on her own ride from home to The Bicycle Cellar; at the Cellar itself, she's installed a big projected map of the 10 bike videos, with an interactive component that allows other riders to map their own routes.

A photo of Saskia Jordá’s “Bound.”
Kathleen Vanesian
A photo of Saskia Jordá’s “Bound.”
A T-shirt designed by Jon Haddock.
Kathleen Vanesian
A T-shirt designed by Jon Haddock.

And if I see one more Sheriff Joe Arpaio-related artwork, I'm going to chew my arm off. Mildly interesting for about 10 seconds, America's Toughest Jukebox by Chris Todd, made for the now-defunct Sucker Punch Sally's Diner, features Sheriff Joe (again) as a gravel-throated lounge singer. Choose a song for him by pressing one of the buttons on Todd's old-fashioned jukebox-cum-video screen, and Joe's animated doppelganger will croak his interpretation. Todd's effort would have been infinitely more enthralling had the subject of the piece been anyone other that Joe Arpaio, who's been a trite satirical punching bag long past his prime. If you're interested, the jukebox is now available to any business that actually might want to add noise pollution to their establishments.

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3 comments
Dave Adus
Dave Adus

It's always annoying to read "art criticism" in which the ego of the "critic" is the main subject. Give me nuanced, researched, and insightful comments about the art, context, and artists or just give me the facts.

Gillian Trevejo
Gillian Trevejo

Your review is podunk. Get your head out of your "First Friday" arse and learn to write a review that doesn't sound like a blog from my 13-year-old sister.

J Miller
J Miller

Seriously, Gillian: "arse"? Do you also speak with a proper British accent...like Madonna? Can your 13-year old sister write an unpretentious sentence, so we can all learn from her insightful writing? Please post a link to her blog.

 
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