The Okay Mountain Collective was recently invited to participate in a visiting artist series at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. And by recently I mean it just happened last week.
Ruth Grover (left) extended the invitation on behalf of the university as a part of the Diane Marek visiting artist series.
In addition to studio visits with the students and presenting several lectures to the students, faculty, and friends of the university, we (Okay Mountain) also had an exhibition that opened in the Cress Gallery during our visit. Busy week.
We installed some existing work, including "The Wheel." (Peat Duggins on the Katwalk.)
As well a video we made in 2010 titled: Water, Water Everywhere So Let's All Have a Drink.
The "Torture Gym" made another appearance (I still can't believe nobody has bought this yet… do any museum directors read this column?)
The university also commissioned us to create a new piece of art for the show. After about 30 arguments about what we should make, we decided on creating a local attractions style brochure hutch.
One-hundred double-sided ridiculous jokes.
Including: Paddle Stitchers,
This is the Cyber Goth Fashion Emporium.
And this is one of my personal favorites. It's Turtle Shell Custom Headgear. I really wish I could show you all 100 of these things because they just get progressively weirder and more confusing.
While we were in Chattanooga I managed to slip away for a little bit and check out a skate plaza.
It was littered with these awesome rolling ledges.
And a perfect brick wave complete with a terrifying rail on each side for the brave-hearted.
But probably the raddest thing at the skate plaza was the transitioned concrete ramp gap.
Nah, I'm just kidding. This wasn't actually a skate plaza. It was a regular business plaza with No Skateboarding signs at every entrance. Seriously? What the fudge were you guys thinking when you built this thing? It's like building a swimming pool and then hiring a security guard to stand around and tell kids that they can't swim in it. Silly stuff, man. Silly stuff.
While we were in Chattanooga we heard about this local attraction called Rock City. This is the kind of thing that we were researching/referencing when we we were making our travel brochures.
We're on it.
Coral covered cave ceilings? Ch'yeah. (Rock City is 80 years old so I'm guessing the coral ceilings were installed before it was un-P.C. to remove coral from coral reefs.)
I think these are fake but I could be wrong. I'm wrong about most things. Excluding my conspiracy theory about Alex Jones…
Deeper and deeper through the Earth,
until you come to the black light fairy tale sculptural installations inside the cave. Because let's face it, take away the black light fairy tale sculptural installations from a cave and what are you left with? Just a dank, dark hole in the earth that you're muddling around in. Gross. I took this photo using a flash so that you could see how strange these things are without the weird lighting.
The scale of these dioramas are lost in the photographs, but these things are ridiculously deep and comprehensive. There's so much detail it kind of makes you go crazy.
If somebody was making this type of work today and placing it in a contemporary art space, they'd be described as brilliant. Or a complete failure. I don't even know anymore.
I think the best part of Rock City was getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the workshop where gnomes and fairy tale characters are created and repaired.
We met Matt Dutton during a studio visit in the sculpture department at UTC. We later found out that he was the head sculptor at Rock City. A quick series of phone calls and Matt agreed to give us a behind the scenes look.
The stuff nightmares are made of.
The stuff nightmares within nightmares are made of.
This reminds me of that movie Westworld. Gives me the heebie jeebies.
I can't even imagine having this awesome of a work environment.
Matt's office. Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to show us around. If you ever find yourself on the East side of Austin we'll totally give you a tour of the convenience store next to our studio. It's amazingly shitty.
Rock City is located at the top of Lookout Mountain, and not only are there awesome rock formations to cruise through, but there's also a spectacular view. I'm starting to sound like an actual tourism travel brochure writer. How about, "You'll come for the rocks and stay for the view… because it rocks as well." I like that.
So that concludes my photo travel essay of Okay Mountain's voyage to Chattanooga, TN. Many thanks to Ruth Grover, John Marek, Matt Dutton, all of the UTC faculty, staff, students and friends of the University, Dan and Aaron, and anybody who took the time to read this. Also, thanks to Nathan Green and Carlos Rosales Silva for driving our sculptures from LA to TN.
Movie Review: First Blood
Here's the deal: Don't fuck with John J. Rambo when he's hungry. If you do, he'll probably kill your friend and then blow up half your town. It's not his fault, though. He's just all sad and crazy.
Previously – Toughest Cardigan Ever