Monday, April 23, 2007


Headresses by Johanna Went

On Saturday, Larry and I went to the Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica for an art show by our friend, Johanna Went. Included in the show are costumes that Johanna uses in her performance pieces, playbills and photos from her career as a performance artist during the punk rock era and other soft sculptures. The show was huge and all encompassing. There were celebrities in attendance (Cybil Shepherd, Lisa Loeb, Crispin Glover, Jack Black). Johanna is an amazing artist....her masks and costumes are so inventive.

Awhile back...maybe a year or two, Johanna came to our WeHo SnB to sit and stitch with us (see CAP photo above). She was working on one of her wilder masks. I wish she'd come back. Her creativity enlivened the group considerably!
Yarn Creation by Johanna
Close-Up of Yarn Ball Hat
Johanna Went in her Punk Rock Days
Cybil S., left behind hatted patron
crocheted potholder sleeves and hat

Map Costume

Here's what Ron Athey in the L.A. Weekly had to say about this event/show:

Johanna Went: Aggravated Resistentialism
A giant baby doll head screams, a wrecking ball papered in a world map crashes into a cheap paper set, goat heads are stabbed with a sharp knife and a wedding dress is lifted up to reveal ejaculating dildos. If the actionist art of Johanna Went were to be classified as a religious experience, it would be a close relative to the Holy Roller movement. Specializing in structured chaos, Went seems to channel characters from an alternate universe akin to — if sicker than — H.R. Pufnstuf. Her gibber-jabber vocals fluctuate between baby talk and Tourette’s syndrome; her physical movement is a constant, spastic spirit-dance; and she makes a beautiful mess, transforming ordinary objects into symbolist actions, brimming with a dark, whacked humor. The overall effect of sound, motion and imagery is catalytic. Went “trained” 30 years ago in Seattle with Tom “Alien Comic” Murrin, staging street actions there and elsewhere. In 1979, she made her entrée into L.A. punk history when she performed her first solo material at the Hong Kong Café. Her aggressive stage style conquered the toughest Germs or Black Flag audience, and eventually she became identified with the Industrial scene, which included Non’s Boyd Rice and Survival Research Laboratory founder Mark Pauline. In Aggravated Resistentialism, a 45-minute performance acted out in Track 16’s newly pumped up main gallery, Went is back with longtime musical collaborator Mark Wheaton, and reunited with percussion meister Z’ev. Tackling the prop heaps onstage with her are Theatre Carnivale’s Stephen Holman and performers Lauren Hartman, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario and Shelly Vial. Over the years Went’s prop/costume chest has been filled with slaughterhouse rejects, feminine hygiene products, Halloween masks, tubular bolts of fabric, Hollywood iconography, and fluid concoctions evoking blood, vomit, afterbirth. Junk that will, with a little help from the hands of Went and co., live up to the theme of the show: “the theory that inanimate objects demonstrate hostile behavior.” Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. C1, Santa Monica; Fri.-Sat., June 11-12, 8 p.m. (310) 264-4678.

Johanna will be performing in all these costumes and more on May 5, 12 and 19th at the Track 16 Gallery. You go, Girl!

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At 5:44 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow and Larry really go to wild events!


At 6:16 AM PDT, Blogger Abby Hansen said...

It's so nice to be back in blogland...

At 8:32 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a terrific event. I just might have to talk the hubby into attending one of the performances.

That crocheted potholder must have been a really popular item at one time. I got an identical one at a church rummage sale.

At 4:44 PM PDT, Blogger LadyLinoleum said...

Track 16 always has a variety of interesting shows. Cool that Johanna had a retrospective there. Her work is awesome!


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