Art shows in Bushwick tend to be one of three types: They either fall into the regurgitated abstract painting/stuff-made-out-of-junk category, the every-once-in-a-while progressive and engaging category, or the free-for-all, “we’re just having fun,” category. Secret Project Robot’s “Headshop” definitively falls into that last designation.
But by no means should that be considered second, or even third place. In the case of “Headshop,” it’s a mixed bag of colorful art inspired by everything that can be found at the titular home of bongs and incense: Comics, black light posters, tapestries, t-shirts, candles, “pipes,” tarot cards, vinyl, video games, fliers and show promotions. Secret Project Robot, along with Silent Barn and various pop-ups, tend to traffic in exhibitions that are a lot more fun than most galleries. They focus on work that represents an artist, without being overwrought or pretentious.
The works in “Headshop” are by a ton of different illustrators, designers, musicians and programmers. Many of those featured are great artists in their own right — like Jacob Ciocci and Eric Copeland — others are just moonlighting in the visual arts, or presenting a gig flier. What they all have in common, however, is creating a level of chaos that in the olden days would’ve been called “a happening.”
While there’s not any heavy message or great thought-provoking theme going on here, fun/chaotic qualities are all too often absent from the more snobbish and well-funded galleries to be found around the city. However accidental the timing is, the show almost functions as a big celebration of NYC’s surprise announcement that it will honor weed decriminalization laws. They tapped into the zeitgeist and no one had to rehash notions of relational-aesthetics to do it. Dope.