Comic Books, Inverted Stamps, Paranoid Literature
May 11 — Jun 19
Marlborough Chelsea is proud to present Comic Books, Inverted Stamps, Paranoid Literature, a new project by Drew Heitzler. Comprising 37 works on paper and a new lm, the exhibition continues Heitzler’s excavation of history through a re-appropriation and re-interpretation of the past that nds, event by event, full circle connections between seemingly disparate sources.
Computer generated prints of web-sourced images of valuable comic book covers, rare stamps and rst-edition dust jackets have been exposed to haphazard sprays of water. In the collecting of works on paper, the worth of the mechanically reproduced objects is determined by rarity and condition. Rarity is the given, determined by limited runs, production mistakes, and material fragility coupled with the original marginal status. Condition is the variable. Tears, stains, or water damage can make a priceless paper collectible worthless.
Heitzler has inverted this equation. Here, water damage creates individuation, literally blurring the line between the unique, the edition, and the unique edition. e damage becomes analogous to painting with watercolors, minus the romanticism of the artist’s touch. Once the image is selected, it is the machine and gravity that make all the decisions.
Heitzler’s 16mm lm, When the Levee Breaks, shows Art Clokey’s beloved Claymation creation Gumby re-edited to play the song of the same title on a tiny piano. Originally recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1927, the song was covered in 1971 by Led Zeppelin and in 1986 was sampled for the Beastie Boys’ Rhymin’ and Stealin’. For the soundtrack, Heitzler continues the extended repurposing of this melody by recording a piano version played from a book of Led Zeppelin sheet music.
With this work Heitzler also reinforces his ongoing investigation into the Hollywood movie industry, especially its more adventurous and marginal o shoots. Clokey developed Gumby in the 1950s wile studying Kinesthetic Film Principles under the Serbian avant- garde lmmaker Slavko Vorkapic at e University of Southern California. More recently, another well-known Los Angeles artist Raymond Pettibon has appropriated Gumby as a recurring character in his drawings. e fact that Pettibon began his career making inexpensive ‘zines which are now tremendously valuable, begins to neatly tie Heitlzer’s lm and watercolors together into a free-associative meditation on the intersections of cultural history, art, and the economics of the low-brow.