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Surreal Salon IV

Surreal Salon 8 (Jan 2016) - Juried by Elizabeth McGrath - featured 60 Artists from 23 States 

In January, Baton Rouge Gallery - center for contemporary art ("BRG") hosted the eighth annual Surreal Salon exhibition. Aimed at celebrating the growing popularity and quality of the pop-surrealist/lowbrow movement, the juried exhibition offers a unique multimedia look at emerging American artists working within the movement. This year's exhibition was the result of a national call to artists which resulted in nearly 700 works being submitted for the juror's consideration. 


In the end, more artists than ever before were a part of Surreal Salon, with the work of 60 artists from 23 different states exhibited. The exhibition was open to the public with no admission charges during normal gallery hours (Tuesday – Sunday, 12 – 6 p.m.). Works were selected via a blind jurying process, meaning the juror never saw the artist’s name or home city before selections were finalized.
Click here to see all 60 artists selected to participate in Surreal Salon 8.

Surreal Salon has been blessed with some of the biggest names in pop-surrealism as jurors in recent years with Greg Escalante (gallerist and co-founder of Juxtapoz Magazine) and internationally-acclaimed artist Shag (Josh Agle) putting their stamp on the show in 2014 and 2015 respectively. That continues in 2016 with artist Elizabeth McGrath. She has always had an eye for the strange beauty in the grotesqueries of life, an appreciation nowhere more evident than in her own work. Inspired by the relationship between the natural world and the detritus of consumer culture, she brings forth a new cavalcade of creatures from the darker corners of the streets, the city and the imagination. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at Sloan Fine Art (New York, NY), IguaPop (Barcelona, Spain), Billy Shire Fine Arts (Culver City, CA), Stychnin (Berlin, Germany) and La Luz de Jesus (Los Angeles, CA). McGrath’s work has also been exhibited in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo and London as well as across 13 different states. She has also published two art books, “Incurable Disorder” (2013) and “Everything that Creeps” (2006).  

Check out Juxtapoz Magazine's May 2016 editorial on Surreal Salon 8.  

Michael Reedy's "But Prettier Than Ever"One work from the show was named “Best in Show” and will be recognized and prominently featured in an upcoming 2016 editorial in Juxtapoz Magazine. That work was "But Prettier Than Ever" by Michael Reedy (Ann Arbor, MI). Works by Alexander Churchill (Chicago, IL), Jessica Dalva (Los Angeles, CA) and Victor LeBlanc (Denham Springs, LA) were recognized as Honorable Mentions.

On Friday, January 22, 2016, BRGCCA will welcomed over 600 wonderfully-costumed guests, channeling their own pop-surrealist visions, to the Eighth Annual Surreal Salon Soiree. It was an evening of art, costumes, live music, interactive experiences and more, all in honor of the exhibition itself. After experiencing the Soiree for the first time in 2014, Juxtapoz Magazine co-founder and gallerist Greg Escalante said, “I thought it was arguably the best party I ever attended.” 

The Soiree featured entertainment from digital musician DJ Otto in advance of a performance from the evening’s headlining musical act, Hank & Cupcakes. The Hank & Cupcakes experience - as was the case at 2016's Soiree - is one of full luscious sound, breathtaking stage personas, brutal honesty and unmitigated fun. The pedal board magician Hank commanded an army of pedals with his bass guitar while powerhouse vocalist/drummer Cupcakes dominated the drums, standing up, while belting out emotive and groove filled vocals. Pinpointing down to a certain genre of music is hard with this duo, with elements reminiscent of Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, early Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Ting Tings and The Kills. The duo, which met and first began playing music together while serving in the Israeli Army, once inspired Boston to declare, “The duo's impressive sound is so big that it's hard to believe that they are only a two piece band…This band is fun, unique, very talented, and if you get the chance to check them out live, you won't regret it." 

The artist collective known as Elevator Projects once again partnered with BRGCCA for the Soiree and offered a one-of-a-kind outdoor installation, again occupying space outside the front and back of the gallery. The collective’s mission is to “present innovative, creative, and contemporary projects that educate, serve, and engage the artists and audiences of Louisiana, the nation, and the globe.”

To get a taste of the 2016 Soiree, check out the video here or visit BRGCCA’s Facebook page for an entire album of photos from this strange and fun night.
On Sunday, January 24, Elizabeth McGrath will give a free, informal presentation at the gallery on her own work and the pop-surrealist/lowbrow movement while also discussing some of the pieces selected for inclusion in the Surreal Salon 8 exhibition.
For more information on Surreal Salon 8, how to submit work for future Surreal Salon exhibitions, or any of the events associated with the exhibition, contact Baton Rouge Gallery at 225.383.1470.