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'Underground Pop' at Parrish Art Museum

James Gobel's

James Gobel's "Nature Makes a Man of Me" is part of the "Underground Pop" exhibition at Parrish Art Museum in Southampton through Oct. 4, 2010.

'Underground Pop." The very title is subversive.

"The Pop component is accessible, social - evoking Andy Warhol's '15 minutes of fame,' " says David Pagel, curator of the exhibit opening Sunday at Southampton's Parrish Art Museum. "The Underground component is turning away from that - kind of secretive. It's meant to be a little bit of a puzzle."

Ranging from primitive to surreal, the 31 works by 10 contemporary artists from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco bring to mind a do-it-yourself style that such original Pop icons as Roy Lichtenstein and Warhol exhibited early in their careers - before they became manufacturers of art.

"There's a willful crudeness to this work. Not slick, not polished or corporate," says Pagel, a California-based adjunct curator for the Parrish who had collaborated with director Terrie Sultan on "Damaged Romanticism."

"There's an aspect of urban Outsider art," Pagel says, "as if the artists are in the mix but trying to resist fitting in. They want an audience but don't want to sell out."

The implication of the show's title is that leading Pop artists of the '60s eventually sold out.

So who are these artists?


HOMEMADE AND HOKEY Glenn Goldberg of Manhattan favors pointillist cartoon inks and acrylics of flowers and birds, as in his whimsical "Small Mystery." Incorporating felt and yarn, James Gobel of San Francisco creates craft-like images of pudgy, hairy men known in the gay subculture as "bears." Brooklyn's Michael Lazarus' collages bring to mind a school craft project "created on a desert island, where he didn't have all the materials," Pagel says. Jeni Spota of Los Angeles patterns Italian ecclesiastical imagery in her "Coat of Arms for the Coat of Arms" oil, while Cole Case, also of L.A., specializes in figureless solitude in such still-lifes as "Lucy's El Adobe." Chicago's Scott Anderson indulges his fascination with cults and hero worship in surreal oils ("Declaration").


TAKING SHAPEKristen Morgin avoids refinement with her "Mighty Mouse," whose comically disfigured face subverts his bloated, heroic pose. Leia Jervert creates mixed-media sculptures out of everyday materials as in her "but me you have forgotten" wreath. Fellow L.A. sculptor Nathan Mabry deploys latex masks over classically posed pieces - including "A Very Touching Moment (?)" - before bronzing them. Southern California videographer Brian Bress takes viewers back to pre-Internet dark ages with his deliberately unpolished "Status Report," featuring a scene with an astronaut traversing space in a cardboard box. Sort of like the original "Star Trek." Wink, wink.

Of the overall exhibit, Pagel says, "It's Pop growing out of folk art."

WHAT "Underground Pop" art exhibit

WHEN | WHERE Preview reception, 6 p.m. Saturday; opens Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; exhibit runs through Oct. 3 at Parrish Art Museum, 25 Job's Lane, Southampton

INFO $10 for reception, suggested museum admission $5, $3 seniors and students, free for children younger than 18;, 631-283-2118


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WHAT "Trio: Three Artists . . . Three Mediums" - Check out the collages of Creighton Berry, a former advertising artist who has devoted himself to his own art since "retirement," along with pastels by Sherry Schreiber, inspired by the "beautiful places" she's lived - France, the island of Jamaica and the East End. Andrew Xenios, whose paintings and photographs are in the permanent collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Harvard's Fogg Museum, rounds out the show with a third medium - drypoint etchings.

WHEN | WHERE 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (also by appointment and whenever the red flag flies in front of the gallery), through Aug. 29, at deCordova Studio & Gallery, 538 Main St., Greenport

INFO Free;, 631-477-0620

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