Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
Back to Reviews 96

Shred Sled Symposium
skateboard installation

Installation view

Early boards

Aaron Rose
Perfection, 1996
Princess, 1995


Keith Haring

Jim Philipps
Corbert O'Brien 
Pro Model 

Eli Gessner
Dial Direct, 1996
Zoo York Tag, 1995
Z Train, 1995


Kevin Marburg,
Jeff Tremain,
Dave Persé,
Andy Howell

the shred sled 
at thread waxing space 

by Paul H-O

The Big Kahuna has spawned one street-stick 

exhibition of the little Kahuna, namely the 

skateboard. Curated by Alleged Gallery's 

Aaron Rose, this excellent exhibition 

carves a tight thematic schema that rivals 

any more purportedly high-art curatorial 

effort. Featuring a grand total of 198 

skateboards, the show sprawls around the 

big Thread Waxing main space laying tracks 

clockwise into a 360. Stretches of walls 

covered by boards are punctuated by large 

on-site paintings by Mark Gonzales, Phil 

Frost, Mike Mills and Thomas Campbell.

Aaron points out that it took four years to 

put this show together and flatly denies 

that it's the definitive skate art show--

but all the same it's damn comprehensive! 

The first boards up are simple skinny 

skateboards designed by the granddaddies 

that crawled out of the primordial 

California ooze back in the `60s. True 

wheeled descendants of the wave boards, 

entries by Dogtown and Hobie provide a 

historic reference point by which to 

measure current deck designs. The two Keith 

Haring boards in the show bridge the old 

and new in a most sublime fashion that 

almost erases the fact that all this stuff 

was meant to be ridden to destruction.

The outstanding and ball-baring breadth of 

visual approaches are led by Jim Phillips 

of megasurf company Santa Cruz Boards and 

by Mark Gonzales of Visions. Veteran street 

artists like Cleon Peterson and Johnny Mojo 

synthesize cartoons and pop culture with 

humor plus irony. (Cleons' Courtney Love 

Conquers All brings out a special 

"Yessss.") Dave Aron demonstrates the most 

sophisticated conceptual sensibility by 

putting a wheelchair picture on a pastel 

abstract, along with equally pithy public 

transportation signage. Truly free-range 

virtuosos like Yogi and Dave Persaul--and 

practically every artist here--express teen 

fear and loathing, sex violence, vomit, 

parental fear and loathing, and other 

boyish fantasy. Two freak examples poke out 

into special art awareness: the porno board 

of our most senior teen, filmmaker Larry 

Clark, and the example by (I believe) the 

only female artist included, Rita 

Ackermann. (Freaking good!)

This totemic assemblage of street styles 

deserves to be a traveling show because 

it's that cool (of course I was a teen in 

Santa Cruz). Is it a glitch to overlook the 

graphic-god influences of Vaughn Bode, Rick 

Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson, etc.? 

(I think yes.) 

There is a spiritual inscription to action 

these painted boards hold for the riders. 

The board is personal style you have to 

depend on, because you give your blood and 

skin to an ageless god that is closer when 

you are young. 

Shred sled shreds!

May 11-June 15, 1996, 

476 Broadway, New York.

Paul H-O is a New York artist who 

produces and stars in Art TV Gallery Beat, 

appearing on Manhattan Public Access 

Cable Television channel 16, Weds. 12
midnight and Sat. 4:30 p.m.