To mark Pelican Bomb’s fifth birthday and the opening of Pelican Bomb Gallery X, the organization invited print publication and artist project Momma Tried (Theo Eliezer and Micah Learned) to throw a party inspired by legendary celebrations both real and fictional on February 13, 2016.
For the event, which the artists called Spa Castle and welcomed over 400 revelers, Momma Tried constructed three distinct environments in the gallery space. At the entrance, six larger-than-life interpretations of Greek gods and goddesses line the gallery, and two performers, dressed in pale peach suits with rose crowns, danced in and around a concrete wading pool, transporting partygoers to a Classical bacchanal. A collection of antique furniture, baubles, and taxidermied animals—channeling the Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—occupy the other side of a curved archway. Trays held a mountain of sweet treats and delicate eggshells that, when broken, revealed poetic fortunes printed on tiny blue scrolls of paper. Circular cut-outs—meant for visitors to stick their limbs through—mark the entrance to the artists’ Glory Hole bar, inspired by the simultaneous grime and glamour of downtown New York in the 1960s and ’70s. The bar is covered in gleaming aluminum foil, à la Andy Warhol’s Factory, offering a type of makeshift luxury.
Momma Tried’s site-specific environment at X is on view through March 13. The remnants of the opening festivities—tattered rose petals, a discarded Whisky bottle, steadily deflating balloons, and forgotten business cards—have been left in the gallery space as an installation and record of the party experience. These remains connect Momma Tried’s party with an art historical lineage of performative work—including Allan Kaprow’s Happenings and the rise of relational aesthetics in the 1990s—and ask the viewer: What does it mean to party?
Pelican Bomb Gallery X (1612 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard) is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday, 12 – 5 pm. Admission is free. For all press inquiries, contact Charlie Tatum at 504.252.0136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if you missed the opening, it’s not too late to visit “Spa Castle.”