I was a wee 17-year-old comic book hunting at Tate's in South Florida, when I came across my first SUCKLORD piece: the Suckadelic Empire Bootleg Homotrooper. What fascinated me the most were the colors chosen to parody the classic George Lucas figure. It was hot pink, with hot pink packaging--the box itself was a representation of the classic Star Wars box art (not the prequels). The SUCKLORD's figures combined the classic characters (he owns the original molds from the 90s Star Wars re-release toy lines) with his own personal touch. The figures are comedic, pointing at every nerd's core and poking fun at the nostalgia. The jokes even go so far into the universe of Tolkien and George Lucas that it would take a devoted fan of theirs to really understand the root of the SUCKLORD's work.
Flash forward eight years: the SUCKLORD opens a retrospective at the Boo-Hooray pop-up gallery at the Steven Kasher Gallery, which I attended on Tuesday. Titled "YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE FOR BUYING THIS: The SUCKADELIC Art Toy Universe", the show had been promoted as "intentionally confusing, misleading, disappointing and really funny," all of which I would check off. The house was packed, so I fought my way to get a peek at the work on display, most of which sold out within the first half hour. The original molds were for sale, along with one-of-a-kind figures that coincided with his first book release. The walls bore the artist's statements and a brilliant Irvin Kershner memorial by Nicholas Gazin.
It was great to finally see the works in person. The raw finishing that the figures have on the website is just as apparent in real life. These contrasted with other pieces that had a mass-produced feel to them, giving the show a wide contrast of works. Overall, the SUCKLORD's pop culture puzzle pieces remain in a realm of their own, being built on top of what's already in existence.
The SUCKADELIC show runs through January 23. The catalogue is available here.
BOO HOORAY at Steven Kasher Gallery
521 W 23rd St
New York, NY 10011 MAP