A traffic light swooshes past our heads. We duck down under the High Line. From the roof, artist Jennifer Catron leads the tour group to chant “LARRY! LARRY! LARRY!” directly outside one of Larry Gagosian’s 15 galleries, but, unsurprisingly, he doesn’t come out to say hello. Artist Paul Outlaw is at the wheel of this hand-modified auto-beast. We bump through Chelsea, peering into the first floor windows of its elite blue chip galleries. Paul explains, “If you’re not on the first floor, you ain’t shit!” (Click to watch the video above.)
This is not an ordinary sightseeing tour. Jen and Paul’s One Stop Shopping Souvenir City and Chelsea Bus Tours is an art project, a multi-series performance, a mobile installation — an ongoing critique on wheels. The cabin of the bus is a shop, boasting products of various degrees of functionality, all meticulously rebranded to reference art world celebrity matters — like “Jeff Koons” swag, “Marina Abramović” performance kits, “Terry Richardson” condoms, “Banksy” stencils, “Ai Weiwei’s” smashed pots and “Magritte’s” pipe (it’s not a pipe.)
Can’t afford Damien Hirst’s shark-in-formaldehyde classic The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living? Take home your very own “shark” — a dead goldfish in a tiny shark disguise, floating in its very own cube of formaldehyde.
“To celebrate the landmark court decision, we have these 3rd degree appropriations of Richard Prince!” Jen and Paul say, holding up their Richard Prince prints, printed from the internet.
Impressed with James Franco exploring female identity in Cindy Sherman drag? “We have other bros exploring female identity,” Catron says, flipping through photo sets of Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher Photoshopped into Sherman’s Film Stills.
Looks fun? Keep an eye out if you’d like to book yourself a spot on one of these free tours, because those spots fill up fast. Guest tour guides include art critic Paddy Johnson, artist and comedian Sean J Patrick Carney, artist and educator William Powhida and even Molly Soda.
Catron and Outlaw make stuff you can hang on your wall, but a lot of their practice centers around elaborately staged performances. And sometimes, crawfish. This one is pretty aggressive, playing with simplification and taking aim at art world politics, right outside of their front door, completely uninvited. I guess that takes balls. Let me put some gold leaf on those balls. Viola! Art.
(Video/Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)