Gallery 1988 has hosted plenty of group shows that explore the influence of pop culture. From video games to cult films, Garbage Pail Kids to Watership Down, artists have come together at the Melrose Ave. space with a mission to transforms well-known works into something new.
On Friday night, Gallery 1988 took a slightly different approach. Where group shows often touch on nostalgia and early influences, in "[gallery 1988 x adult swim]," artists took inspiration from their peers, the creative teams behind the shows that comprise Adult Swim's programming schedule.
Adult Swim operates overnight on the same channel that hosts kid-friendly Cartoon Network. Over the past decade, they've remained on the forefront of hip pop culture. With earlier shows, like Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, the network pushed the boundaries of parody while reviving second-tier Hanna-Barbera characters.
Their broadcasts of Family Guy and Futurama certainly paved the way for both shows to come back to life after cancellation. They also helped give anime a big push in the U.S. with shows like Cowboy Bebop and Fullmetal Alchemist and did the same for British comedy by airing The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. And if that weren't enough, the network has consistently championed the cutting edge of comedy on both the animated and live action fronts.
Shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Boondocks, The Venture Bros. and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! keep people talking. "It's sort of a common thread between all of the artists we show," says Jensen Karp, co-owner of Gallery 1988 and curator of the show, of the cable network's influence.
Karp brought up the idea to a friend who worked at Adult Swim, saying that it would be interesting to see his group of artists "breathe different kinds of lives" into characters that have become so ingrained in the minds of late-night TV viewers.
"This is something that we've been doing over the past eight years," says Karp of the gallery's theme shows, adding that it was only natural that they would eventually tackle the worlds of anthropomorphic fast food, clown doctors and villains who look like butterflies.
With a large group of artists and bountiful inspiration, it took about a year to put the show together. In the end, many of Adult Swim's shows -- past and present -- made an appearance. Artists referenced the classics, like Space Ghost Coast to Coast and The Brak Show, as well as recent additions, like Childrens Hospital and Black Dynamite.