Considering that any single exhibition attempting to encapsulate all of Cathouse’s past activities could only be partial, Cathouse FUNeral in Cathouse Proper: Life to Art to Life,as an anniversary celebration, hangs two newly constructed, nine by seven foot, plaster fresco paintings of the original Cathouse FUNeral logo opposite each other in Cathouse Proper’s main space. These monumental icons signify, embrace, and mirror the gallery project itself and all its activities, and are composed of building materials and media that have become the hallmark of the original Cathouse FUNeral begun in 2013, along with its subsequent “harvestings” (works cut from the gallery walls). The generative dialectic that has framed the gallery project since its inception has been “Youthful Narcissism / Heroic Social Work,” the spirit of which is present in this reflexive display of gallery within gallery by the artistic and curatorial ego of Cathouse founding director, David Dixon.
A sculpture made by Dixon in 2008 titled The Artist in his Studio (composed of a hyperrealistic silicone cast of the artist's head, dead, and balanced atop a stack of art studio buckets) chronologically begins the exhibition while also marking the beginning of the end for the Youthful Narcissist, the end of which allows for the collaborative project (Heroic Social Work) that becomes Cathouse FUNeral / Proper.
Salvation and escape from fearful solipsism can be found in the appropriated black wall surfaces that were removed, shaped, and repurposed from artist Tariku Shiferaw’s March 2018 exhibition at Cathouse Proper, This Ain’t Safe, and
worked on by Dixon expressionistically with silkscreen,
paint, and pen thereby demonstrating that there is an
outside (other artists’ work) even within the program (of
the self). These mid-sized framed works fill the anterior
rooms leading into the larger main space, counterpoising
allusions to the Greek myth of Narcissus (silkscreened
details of Dixon’s head from The Artist in his Studio—
reflected, baptized and submerged) with representations
of a traditional reliquary guardian figure from the Kota of
central west Africa, as seen in the FUNeral logo.
Haunting, meditative, and packed, Cathouse FUNeral in Cathouse Proper: Life to Art to Life fronts the performative nature of our cultural moments ongoing, eternal return of white-space art exhibitions as ritualized exercises in the exchange of self, other, community, commerce, purpose, death, and aesthetic discourse as a form of self-absolution.