BEST WAY TO GET HAMMERED WITH JESUS Phoenix 2007 - "Pulpit" by Kjel Alkire at eye lounge
Third Friday art walks may not be as bumpin' as First Fridays, but the one thing we love about them is the free-flowing wine and beer at most galleries. It's a great way to booze your way into the weekend, courtesy of the artists. But no one offered a better way to get nailed in 2007 than Kjel Alkire at eye lounge gallery on Roosevelt Row. With a background in seminary training and education, Alkire's work revolves around Christian themes and intellectual explorations of religious belief. His art performances involve his alter ego, Reverend Rodeo, who gladly provided ice-cold beer to his congregation on the Third Friday of August. And Alkire's "Pulpit" exhibition included a provocative activity in which you could get hammered in another way. The back room of the east gallery was lined with panels of salvaged wood, transforming the entire space. Bins contained plush dolls of Jesus in the classic crucifixion pose, and accompanying the dolls were punch cards that listed various sins. Participants were invited to use a nail to punch holes next to sins they'd committed. Then, to drive home the point of the resulting boundless shame, Alkire instructed viewers to grab a Jesus doll and nail it to the wall. The idea may have seemed too blasphemous at first, but after a few brewskis, getting hammered with Jesus wasn't such a bad idea after all.