Slack also says that while he's showcased his own busty characters for Chaos Theory, he always finds a way to "cover them up" with T-shirts he adds before the show or huge lettering that's been painted over a few of his characters' chests.

Falk says that the piece is currently hanging in her studio and that interested buyers can seek her out personally.

Damon Breidenbach, another Phoenix artist posting on Falk's Facebook page, disagreed with Slack's actions:

Eric Cox's candy coat was refused for Chaos Theory 13.
Courtesy of Eric Cox
Eric Cox's candy coat was refused for Chaos Theory 13.
The original event invitation.
The original event invitation.
The original event invitation was "re-created" by an anonymous artist and shared on Facebook in response to Randy Slack's curatorial decision.
The original event invitation was "re-created" by an anonymous artist and shared on Facebook in response to Randy Slack's curatorial decision.

Location Info

Map

Legend City Studios

521 W. Van Buren St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Phoenix

Details

See also:
Art review by Kathleen Vanesian: Chaos Theory 13 -- The Good, the Bad, and the Meh

A slideshow of the Chaos Theory event.

"1. The painting is beautiful. 2. You were asked to submit a work and you did. It was rejected because of content which means you are being censored. Do not submit another work. 3. There has been nudity and sexually suggestive work in this show before and no one seemed to mind when it was painted by heterosexual white men. You are being censored. 4. In regards to #3, if you are being censored for content and you are a woman, an argument can be made or at least a discussion opened into whether or not this can be classified as unconscious misogyny or homophobia or both. That is fair game . . . I like Randy very much and definitely recognize his contributions as well as his talent, but this is a bad play on his part. He is turning his back on a peer and fellow artist whether he currently sees it that way or not."

James Angel, a local painter and member of 3CarPileUp, a contemporary painting group that includes Slack and David Dauncey, agreed with Slack's decision and admitted he, too, has had a piece rejected for the show.

"Randy did that to me a few years back — and I co-founded the event!" he wrote on Facebook. "Ultimately, it is his space, though, so he gets all the outrage from 80-year-olds and moms! Chaos Theory, though, is all this arts community has. Think about it. Don't piss in the well."

Turnout at the show was huge, as expected, with very little chaos.

There was just one protest. Local artist Pete Petrisko showed up in a blindfold and a T-shirt covered in "penises, vaginas, moaning faces, and . . . aeroplanes," according to Petrisko. He stood in silent protest — with a musical accompaniment by violinist Haley Tilden Ritter — for about 40 minutes. Petrisko calls his piece of performance art Shameful Parts for Happy Masses.

Slack says the night's events were "all in good fun" and that response to the show was overwhelmingly positive.

"I don't make any money on this thing," says Slack, who promises to continue curating and hosting the event despite the uproar and increased publicity. "All I do is lose sleep and spend money . . . The only thing I can control now is to make it happy for the masses."

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17 comments
fingerpainters
fingerpainters

you amateur artfags must realize that nobody outside of downtown phoenix has ever heard of you and wouldn't pay you any attention even if they had. you people should get jobs. making embarrassingly bad "art" in a cultureless city is not a job or even a worthy activity.

4letterword
4letterword

So ... let's test this non-chaos theory! Have ANY gallery owners stepped forward and offered to place this piece in an uncensored (no age restriction on admittance) gallery setting? If so MAYBE there is room to whine ... if not please shut up!

dain.gore
dain.gore

"Chaos Theory 13--Now with Less Chaos!"

carol344
carol344

It seems that all of this could have been abated if Randy had made it clear from the beginning that controversial work is subject to editing. Better yet, create an adults only section so artists can create work regardless of content. This way you can bring the kiddies and not worry. But, then we wouldn't have anything to talk about here which is all part of the fun of art/media/politics.

LetMeSeeTheColts
LetMeSeeTheColts

The reality is anyone CAN curate a show if they know what they’re doing but the first rule (especially for those not trained in the profession) is to live by the rules, the constraints, and the concept of the show. That’s the whole point of organizing a body of work in the first place, whether it’s for a solo or a group show. The mistake that was made here is that the Chaos Theory show is an invite to selected artists with work unseen until just before show time. Slack has the right to show or NOT show anything he wants, but not if the self-imposed constraints and concept of the show is that the work is unseen until the last minute. That’s curating. It’s just not fair to the artists and in this year’s example, it’s not fair to Cox and Falk. In a traditional gallery setting, Slack would have seen the work weeks beforehand and in a blue chip gallery or art institution setting, Cox and Falk may well have had contracts and could have sued for breach thereof. That’s not the situation here; it’s an artist run show in a studio space that operates as a gallery for one night a year, so all protection for the artist ceases to exist, which also then makes Slack open to valid criticism from his peers. I see both sides of the story here and I think Slack made a bad decision, but it’s easy to see why it happened and I sympathize with Slack, but only because I think he might not have thought of this and that his hand had been forced somewhat with what the show has now become and he made a rushed decision. The art of curating and dealing with the public is hard work and is often not best left to the artists themselves past a certain point. But if the show has grown and is now ‘all-ages’ or else has new rules against certain types of work, then Slack needs to spell this out in the future beforehand and the invited artists must also take this into consideration. Good lessons all around here for everyone.

 

Anonymous
Anonymous

This goes back to the pieces about whether anyone can curate a show. Randy Slack's choices here are curatorial decisions--not censorship. His gallery, his rules. The artists described in this story can still show their work anywhere else. Their art still exists. They can approach other galleries. They could get their own gallery and show them there. They could get a table and sell at garage sales. And we're able to view them on the pages of New Times (which would not have happened if they hadn't complained.)

QstionEvythng
QstionEvythng

So, Slack doesn't want to put porn on the walls for a show that he knows will have children in attendance.  And it seems that Slack was pretty even-handed about. (He rejected pieces depicting both  the male and female form so you can't accuse him of being homophobic in his selection; he rejected pieces by both female and male "artists" so you can't call him misogynic).  Seems like a stand-up decision to me.  I went to the show and brought my 10 year old so I very much appreciate Slack's curatorial decisions. While I know he has and will continue to receive criticism from some artists, I want to compliment his decision and compliment the show he hosted.

 

I don't know any of the artists personally, but it continues to sound like a lot of pouting by an artist who thinks her work is the cat's meow (pun intended) and can't stand a little criticism.  Your piece wasn't appropriate for this setting.  Get over yourself.  And don't be such a baby that you'r going to un-friend the gallery owner - are you still in middle school or what?

 

Oh, and I didn't realize that Pete Petrisko was supposed to be a protest piece.  It seemed poorly conceived and very sophmoric when I first saw it at the show.  Now that I know what it was supposed to represent, in retrospect it now strikes me as something you might see on a high school campus from a student who's upset that the administration won't publish his "edgy" article in the student newspaper - it now seems just that whiny.

dain.gore
dain.gore

 @carol344 I like all of these points. Problem is (as you alluded to), none of this would get your show on the cover of New Times!

LetMeSeeTheColts
LetMeSeeTheColts

'His space, his rules' begins to not hold as much weight if the rules have become flexible and subject to interpretation. The art world is just as much of a business as anything else. You cannot selectively apply one criteria (ownership of space) and not the other (running this type of art show).  

dain.gore
dain.gore

 @Anonymous and they were invited to show, and encouraged to push boundaries (read the press release).

wayne146
wayne146

 @LegitQuestions If you only knew how many "Suzy had a hissy fit" stories that are out there in the scene- this raises no eyebrows among those who know her penchant for staging drama. She's shot herself so many times in the feet in regards to her career, its amazing she isnt walking on her kneecaps.

dain.gore
dain.gore

@carol344 it has a certain "all-ages, yet-edgy" ring to it :)

anonymous
anonymous

 @LetMeSeeTheColts Good ideas here and I agree with much of what you say. Certainly the gallery owner can communicate differently if she or he wants to have a heavy hand in the section process. Regardless of the communication issues, the owner still can select the work and reject it.  It might seem unreasonable but businesses are not rarely about logic and moral obligation. The relationship between gallery owner and artist is not an equal one, though. It's heavily weighted in favor of the owner. (Just like in other businesses where the owner/boss has the power and the employee little.) Seems unfair doesn't it. I suppose the artists can join cooperative galleries where the artists assume the responsibilities of a gallery owner--that's an interesting solution. I like your comment about lessons to be learned. Plenty here on both sides.

anonymous
anonymous

 @dain.gore  @Anonymous Guess they pushed the curator's boundaries a little too much, huh! LOL.  Provocative content maybe just part of the decisions here. Perhaps the curator just didn't care for the work? His gallery, his rules. He gets to decide. Not me. Not you. Not anyone who shows up with art. He has no obligation to take any of it.

dain.gore
dain.gore

@anonymous @Anonymous agreed, but there's a serious problem if being okay with accepting art "sight unseen" up to hours before opening is an accepted format, and now we see the result.

 
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