Steven Wolf Fine Arts will host The Devil has Work for Idle Hands, the first-ever exhibition of John Seabury’s drawings. The Berkeley artist first came to prominence in the music underground of the 1970s with a series of flyers advertising his band the Psycotic Pineapple. He has since gone on to acclaim as a designer of posters for rock clubs and rock bands and he continues to perform on stage as well.
In Seabury’s drawings, soulful, freakish-looking males dwell in skewed landscapes alongside gorgeous and disturbing females. Faces and bodies are pushed to extreme limits, and landscapes are infused with dime-store paranoia. Seabury has a beautiful, obsessive line born from the horror vacuii of psychedelic posters and the grotesque cartooning of underground comics. There is a surrealist dissonance and a wise-cracking punch line in everything he does as though Salvador Dali had loaned his pen to Curly from the Three Stooges. It’s outrageous dexterity combined with arrested adolescence.
During his 35-year career, Seabury has experimented with sculpture and printing: his etchings are remarkable for the way they classicize weirdness, and his monoprints make clever use of the castoffs from his commercial music projects. His ceramic portraits are as outlandish and highly resolved as his drawings. But it is the flyers from Psychotic Pineapple that stand out for their aggressively obnoxious character, historical timeliness and sustained narrative.
Psycotic Pineapple was created in 1974 by two members of the Berkeley power pop band Rubinoos as an outlet for the wise-ass energy that they couldn’t secrete into their mainstream music. When Rubinoos took off, leaving no time for the irreverent side project, Pineapple was deeded to four musician friends of the band, including John Seabury. With stripped-down pre-punk prankster-pop charmers like I Wanna Get Rid of You, and She’s Boss, the band attacked any pretense that remained from the days of utopian, hippie rock and roll. Their loud, scary, chaotic shows, which included a nut job dressed as a pineapple, baited the audience in a way that would soon become common in punk rock, and almost always insured that they would not be invited back.
The flyers chronicle the Pineapple’s transgressive antics like a comic strip disseminated intermittently on the street. The Pineapple, as his first name implies, has no boundaries, no sense of right and wrong, and no limits. He is the ego-maniacal rock star in a fun house mirror, a dark celebration of the libido at all costs, a logo run amok in a world of consumer pleasures. After seeing a flyer and a show the only question left for the audience was, what would the pineapple do next?
The exhibition coincides with two other Psycotic Pineapple events: a reunion show December 9th at the Bottom of the Hill; and the re-release on CD of the Pineapple’s sole album, Where’s the Party? in a 48 page, hardbound, full color, art book package designed Hugh Brown. The book contains hilarious photos, Seabury graphics, personal reminiscences by the band and an essay by fellow traveler Roger Clark, of Little Roger and the Goosebumps.
For more information please contact Steven Wolf Fine Arts at 415.263.3677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
November 17 – January 5, 2013
Saturday, November 17, 6-8pm
Wednesday – Friday 10:30–5:30
Steven Wolf Fine Arts
2747 19th Street, A
San Francisco, CA 94110