DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The above piece is an example of the synthesis of life and art. "Safety in Numbers" runs through Feb. 22, at the TPAC Gallery, 240 N. Stone Ave.
By Shaun Clayton
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Feb 1, 2002
Lockers that appear to be ripped right out of a '80s heavy metal high school. A Miss Piggy toothbrush buried in resin. Video of contestants on "The Price is Right" bidding on prostitutes. It's all part of "Safety in Numbers," an art show currently on exhibit at the Tucson-Pima Arts Council.
The show is the product of a group of University of Arizona students and alumni formerly known as Team New Genre.
"Team New Genre was nine artists that were working together in a new genre-type fashion, making installation, video and assemblage," said studio arts senior S.J. Gibson, the founder of the group. "One of the reasons we're not Team New Genre anymore is that it became a hassle to bind people to shows with us at all times, and we weren't really getting along, so we annexed out some people."
"'New Genre' is a really bad word to describe what we do," Gibson said. "It was a word the U of A put on that section of the art department whenever they created it about 10 years ago. They wanted work that was concept first, formal issues later- often social or politically driven- and work that was of alternative media, like video, performance, installation and assemblage."
The current show, pulled together as a production of Team New Genre, consists of work by Gibson, alumni John Richie, Jenny Ostroff and Jill Wantanabe, and studio art seniors Jessica Lansdon and Annie Schap.
Studio art seniors Kim Adams and Rachel Vane, who were a part of a group called Team Anti-New Genre, are also featured artists. Their group was created to counter Team New Genre, which had a problem with being perceived as "elitist."
"It wasn't about the nine of us," Gibson said in defense of the group. "It was about everybody making New Genre work. We easily got pigeonholed into this thing where it was the nine of us, a collective, which isn't what we wanted. So we had to do some finagling and figure out how to help promote other people who weren't in the group but are also doing good work."
As a jab to its critics, the group titled its previous show, held at the Shane House last May, "Team New Genre - Elitist by Nature."The theme of the show dealt with art's interaction with light.
For its current exhibit at the Tucson-Pima Arts Council Gallery, however, the group took a different approach.
"The show was originally going to be about the intersection between art and life," Richie said. "A Duchampian idea where 'art is everywhere' - that type of thing. Then we decided that the idea of 'Safety in Numbers' would be cool."
The concept of the show takes its name literally. Pieces deal either with safety, numbers or a combination of the two. Wantanabe's work, titled "To My Homies Around the World - Japan, New York and Rio," features three pedestals and 22 images of "homies."
Rachel Vane's "Fortress" consists of a wall of primary-colored pillows that is and braced with a chair and duct tape, behind which are arranged various pins, needles and other items one might find in a sewing kit.
"I think the people should see the show because it's fun," Gibson said. "There is a lot of light-heartedness among all the art. It's important, conceptually, to all of us, but you can come here and interact with the pieces and hang out in the gallery. It's an easily approachable show as far as learning about new genre type art."
"Safety in Numbers" runs through Feb. 22 at the T-PAC Gallery, 240 N. Stone Ave.