It's not like any other Julia Street gallery. In fact, it's really not a gallery at all. Studio 527 occupies most of a 6,000-square-foot warehouse where art appears floor to ceiling like the contents of a vast curiosity cabinet. Short on the persnickety presentation of other Julia Street art spaces, but long on spontaneity and spectacle, it reflects the conceptual proclivities of its founder, artist/urban planner Robert Tannen, as well as the best efforts of director Morgan Molthrop, whose unenviable task is to impose order and decorum on what is essentially a freewheeling guerrilla art project in perpetual flux.
When it first opened in July, St. Claude on Julia mostly included work by St. Claude arts district artists. For White Linen Night, new exhibits by photographer Robert Hanant and multimedia artist Terrence Sanders were added in an adjacent warehouse space along with a preview of a modular shotgun house designed by Tannen and noted architect Frank Gehry. But even the original exhibition strayed off the reservation with work by graffiti artists Anonymous Alex, Anonymous John and Anonymous Bud sharing space with wall-size pieces by St. Claude artists, such as the luridly colorful Bifsteak, a painting of a slab of raw meat by Alisoun Meehan.
Anyone who follows the St. Claude scene encountered a mix of familiarity and surprise. Julie Pieri's Betty Crocker cookbook-inspired collages are in the show, and at the opening, she performed a piece called Ouch, in which she stood motionless as a human statue artist wearing a bikini and hundreds of Band-Aids, which gallery goers were invited to yank off. In Dan Tague's spectacular Lite Brite Bird sculpture of LED lights and Styrofoam (pictured), discerning aesthetes will recognize the logo of the Pontiac Firebird, a car long associated with Tague's native West Bank. It's one example of how the show occasionally transcends theory and crosses over into something more mysterious.