Public Pool goes “Banana!”

Arts / Article

The art of banana splits vs. the art of “Banana!”

Currently on-tap over at Public Pool art space in Hamtramck, a fun and free-wheeling group show that employs, as its theme, one of society’s most compelling and universal symbols: the banana. A staple of comedy and diet alike, the banana was celebrated in its various forms during the opening of “Banana!” on Saturday, June 7th.

"Executioners of the Divine Vengeance," a collage by Sarah Rayburn.

“Executioners of the Divine Vengeance,” a collage by Sarah Rayburn.

"Chiquita&squot;s Kisses" (foreground) by Dalia Reyes, and "Sign of the Banana," by Clinton Snider.

“Chiquita’s Kisses” (foreground) by Dalia Reyes and “Sign of the Banana” by Clinton Snider.

The show was organized by Megan Frye, Mariah Dallas and Alice V. Schneider, who also contributed collaborative works to the collection, including “Banana Peels for Jay-Z”—a mixed media work created by throwing whole bananas at a canvas—and a special chair up for sale only to Jay-Z (“Jay-Z’s Chair”) for $20K. The general atmosphere at the opening was playful and convivial, with colorfully appointed guests enjoying banana-based drinks and banana splits constructed by junior members of gallery operator Steve Hughes’ family.

Opening night patron, sitting in "Jay-Z&squot;s chair." As of press time, Jay-Z has not yet attended the show.

Opening night patron, sitting in “Jay-Z’s chair.” As of press time, Jay-Z has not yet attended the show.

Show co-organizer Mariah .

Show co-organizer Mariah Dallas.

Though the general tone was lighthearted, the participating artists applied themselves seriously to finding new takes on a common object. Cedric Tai installed plaster-cast dimensional noses on the gallery wall. Jessica Frelinghuysen’s “The Dancing Banana Sisters” dangled bananas in pantyhose, creating an unsettling dangling obstacle just overhead.

The opening-night crowd, soaking up the banana-flavored festivities.

The opening-night crowd, soaking up the banana-flavored festivities.

"Low Hanging Fruit of My Loins," by Jackie Rines, much in the style of a famous piece from the DIA collection (but with more bananas).

“Low Hanging Fruit of My Loins” by Jackie Rines and collaborators, much in the style of a famous piece from the DIA collection (but with more bananas).

One stand-out piece among the banana-based revelry is an offering by Corrie Baldauf, titled “Banana flavored syrup and “too much fun” in Infinite Jest.” This work is a process piece, created over time as Baldauf flagged every mention of a color throughout David Foster Wallace’s seminal 1,100-page work. Baldauf states that the process of making the work helped her to remain focused on a notoriously difficult book, and the finished product is a stunning evolution of her work around the interplay of mood and color, as well as being a cogent embodiment of the power of obsession, which constitutes the major theme of Wallace’s novel.

Corrie Baldauf's exception, thought-provoking, and detail-intensive response to David Foster Wallace.

Corrie Baldauf’s thought-provoking and detail-intensive response to David Foster Wallace.

Public Pool's man-on-the-scene, Steve Hughes, with the newest issue of Stupor, which premiered last month at the most recent Good Tyme Writers' Buffet.

Public Pool’s man-on-the-scene, Steve Hughes, with the newest issue of Stupor, which premiered last month at the most recent Good Tyme Writers’ Buffet.

Co-curator Megan Frye (left) and art scenester Jenaveve Biernet.

Co-curator Megan Frye (left) and art scenester Jenaveve Biernet.

Altogether, a fun night with some deep thinkers lurking under the peel. Though it may be true that sometimes a banana is just a banana, at Public Pool, at least, a banana is so much more.

Public Pool: 3309 Caniff St., Hamtramck; 313-405-7665; apublicpool.com