Miss Bugs – Do No Harm – The Dispensary / Walk in Centre at Jealous East, London EC2 – it felt like an event rather than just another Thursday night opening last night in East London, true, we don’t have so many of these openings now, they were once ten a penny, but this one did feel like something a little bit special. Why was that? Not sure, It wasn’t the burning bright sunshine or the big crowd outside enjoying the free cocktails and slices of pizza, it isn’t that Miss Bugs is that big a name, I mean yes, Miss Bugs is fast becoming a name, but not a household name, not a name that rips off the tongues of the media, I mean who, what or where is Miss Bugs? The gallery will tell you that “Miss Bugs was founded in the early part of 2007, originally coming from a background in photography and graphics. Working in partnership, they developed fast, spontaneous working methods, cutting and pasting existing images; ‘remixing and sampling classics’ in art to make new pieces with their own mark”. Miss Bugs have been evolving over the last fifteen years or so and especially in most recent times – those ice lollies caught the eye. They’re believed to be a boy/girl partnership, it is said they kind of like to keep themselves to themselves and yes, there is a bit of mystery but none of that quite explains why last night felt like such an event either.
Why did I really want one of those “Junk caps”? I mean surely we’re looking at nothing more than stuff? At throwaway pop art? Clever packaging design? Is it the bright colours? The slickness of it all? Is it any more than just another soup can? Was it fun? Buy one, £250 a pop, not cheap, stick it on the shelf and what? Surely there’s nothing much to look at after those first fifteen minutes? Sweet wrappers in plastic capsules (actually they’re made of resin), slick slick slick, surely playing around with coke logos and crisp packets isn’t that radical, why does it look so good? Especially in here where it all feels like it has come off some kind of production line? Are they cool? is Miss Bugs some kind of cool? Are these pieces cool? Fifteen minutes of fame? Lame? Surely there needs to be more to it? Or maybe not, maybe this is enough, maybe this is classic pop art for the right here right now? Maybe this really is “it”, maybe this is “the bomb” (as the kids like to say and the hipster street art collectors like to say). Whatever it is, I kind of like it, however throwaway it may all be, however wrong it might be to like it or even lust after it, I like it. 21st century pop art? Nothing but slick packaging design? But I really like it.
More than 6000 supersized capsules and tablets displayed around the walls or sprawling out from a ‘sentient’ vending machine in the middle of the space. The show includes 800 brightly coloured poured resin capsules each one containing a discarded junk food wrapper, we’re told each one is unique. The show also features 200 remixed “fast chalk” pills, “cheekily mashing up the recognisable shapes of Viagra and Oxycontin with familiar fast food slogans” – all finger lickin’ good. I like that the ‘sentient’ vending machine is called Damien , I like that Miss Bugs are very obviously playing with the notions of art, with Warhol, with Hirst, with art as a consumer brand, and yes I really do want one, I want to consume.
Forward looking pop art, a show and a collection that throws out many questions, a show that looks great, that excites, visually opulent? We’re in here, elbows out trying to get a look, the place is packed, there’s a buzz, pop art is good for you… (sw)
‘Do No Harm – The Dispensary / Walk In Centre’ will run from 12th August – 4th September at Jealous East, 53 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT.
Do click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show, they’re not the greates of photos but the hopefully give you a hint, a flavour or two….