Art

Lost in the Art Jungle

A review of the Ramiken Crucible Gallery Show in the Anchilla Cave, Puerto Rico. February 2013

Story and Photos by Max Power - max.power@citizenbrooklyn.com

© Max Power- The Anchilla Cave – 18 19 52 N, 66 27 33 W

I had tried to reach The Cave, flying low over the forest on an Ultra-Light, but the vegetation was too thick and there were no places to land. I had to machete my way in. The path that leads to La Cueva is a slippery one. Giant ants guard the way, ready to jump on you if you rest on a rock. I gradually lost phone reception.

@max power – The Dwarf Jungle, Puerto Rico

The cave entrance is majestic, almost scary to look down the black hole in the center of this green galaxy. The sun was setting, and I realized I was about to find myself alone in the company of whatever spirits inhabit those mountains. I lit a joint. Might as well die happy, I thought. I had heard of an art exhibition inside the cave organized by the Ramiken Crucible gallery of New York. We had an editorial meeting at CBK, and everybody agreed that due to the absurdity of the project, I was the perfect candidate. I’m convinced they”re trying to get rid of me.

©Max Power  – The Anchilla Cave Map

Once in, you have to slide down a narrow passage covered with bat shit. It”s dark and you don’t really know what”s next, like on a haunted house ride. Then you get to a wide opening with a twenty foot ceiling and humongous stalactites and stalagmites peeing clear icy water everywhere.

@max power – Bats

Thousands of bats hide in the hollow parts of the cave. I shut my lamp and listened to them talk with each other in complete darkness. As I was wondering if the artists had interacted with the bats, I noticed the first art piece from Lionel Maunz. A hand made of sugar meant to be dessert for the bats.

©Max Power – Lionel Maunz – Bat Food

 

©Max Power – Php Aide Lionel Maunz

In a hidden corner of the cave, I found a holy water fountain by artist Gavin Kenyon. I used it to wash the bats” gooey excrement off my hands.

©Max Power – Gavin Kenyon – Holy Water Fountain

As my eyes got accustomed to the darkness, I started noticing other art disseminated around the large space. Juni Figueroa had painted a goal on a wall. I imagined cave men playing soccer inside. Gigantic cockroaches were raining down on me from the vaulted ceiling. I moved on to stumble on a gigantic psychedelic club by Christopher Rivera.

©Max Power – Juni Figueroa – Goal Net

 

 

©Max Power – Christopher Rivera – Club

Following the cockroaches, I found an area of the cave with a lot of graffiti on the wall. One, by Joe Kyack, said: “No Dioses, No Patrones(No Gods, No Masters) A homage to the Puerto Rican independence  movement, whose fighters used to hide in these caves to organize their strikes.

©Max Power – Joel Kyack

As I moved on, I almost stepped on a Bufo Alvarius; not a work of art, but a gigantic toad whose glands are filled with DMT, A very powerful hallucinogenic substance. I paused for a second, wondering whether I should try to squeeze some magic out of it, but then, the thought of spending the night in moist cavern alone and high… didn”t seem so appealing.

@max power – Bufo Alvarius

A few steps away, I encountered Andra Ursuta”s flaming sculpture. It reminded me of older times, when preserving fire in the caves was a serious survival skill. Bats flew nervously around it, probably attracted by the warmth, and then run off by the smell of gas and oil.

©Max Power – Andra Ursuta

On a nearby wall, feebly lit by the flame, was a powerful graffiti piece by Andy Meerow, WET PAIN, reminding us that pain does not wash away that easily.

@max power – Andy Meerow – Wet pain

Following was an original copy of the New York Times moon landing edition by Elaine Cameron . Now toilet paper for the bats.

@Max Power – NYT, Man on the Moon – by Elaine Cameron

The last piece to surround the flaming sculpture was a burger on a cutting board with a large machete stuck in it. Maybe an homage by Alterazioni Video to Puerto Rican fast food culture, or a sharp comment about the Americanization of the Caribbean.

©Max Power – Burger Execution by Alterazioni Video

I finally reached the furthest part of the art exhibit and found two of Joe Kyack sculptures: one of a stalactite wearing pants and sandals and one of  two white plaster testicles hanging from the dark. Quite humorous. And, as the last surprise, a pumpkin holding its asshole open by Alterazioni Video. Time to get out of here, but not before playing around a bit with the super friendly cockroaches of La Cueva. In fact, both the bats and the cockroaches, make for a much friendlier audience than the ones usually found around art openings in Chelsea”s galleries…

@max power - stalactite with pants by Joe Kyack

@max power – stalactite with pants by Joe Kyack

©Max Power - Hanging Nuts by Joe Kyack

©Max Power – Hanging Nuts by Joe Kyack

Alterazioni_Video_j0027b

@max power – Ancestral Asshole – By Alterazioni Video

 

 

One Response to “Lost in the Art Jungle”

  1. Gaya Holmes says:

    Cool way to show art. Thanks