Saint Bowie – an exhibition of artist made reliquaries.

SaintBowie

Gallery proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to support shadhika.org, an American organization which works toward breaking the cycle of poverty, gender inequality and education, empowering and trying to give economic self-sufficiency to girls – help them avoid early marriage, being forced into prostitution, or being trafficked.


Over 20 artists were asked to create new work with only four weeks notice when curator Stephen Romano came up with the idea to do an exhibition of reliquaries dedicated to communing with Bowie on the other side.  “I was watching the video for “Width of a Circle” about a week after Bowie had died.  I had been over to the shrine on Lafayette Street – I knew where he lived as when the outsider art fair was in the puck building he would come down from his apartment next door and just walk around the fair unnoticed, which was amazing, the level of devotion by his fans, standing out in the freezing cold paying their respects was so astonishing.  I met people there who had come from as far as Europe to pay their respects, people breaking down in tears, people who had been standing there all day.”

Travis Lawerence "Lazarus"

Travis Lawerence “Lazarus”

Saint Louis artist Travis Lawrence said of his woodcut created especially for the occasion of the exhibition “10 houses representing the ascension of the Qabalistic Tree. There are 3 windows that form a Pythagorean right angle, which also references Wisdom/Strength/Beauty on the Tree. The drops on the body/candle combined with the water drops below reference the body of Orion constellation. The Golden water vessel is a reference to Aquarius. 10 houses=10 sephiroth”

voodoo

Participating in the exhibition is New York artist Tine Kindmann, who like bowie has the distinction of being a collaborator with Iggy Pop. Says Tine of her contribution to the exhibition “It is a piece made from found objects based on the aesthetic of Haitian beaded vodou dolls, referring to Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and specifically the knitted jumpsuit made for him in 1973 by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto.”

selfdefAlso included is a vintage book dust cover for “Psychic Self Defense” by Dion Fortune, of which when Bowie was asked about his sentiments on Aleister Crowley  in NME in 1997, he unexpectedly responded

Q: “So were you involved in actual devil worship?”
A: “Not devil worship, no, it was pure straightforward, old-fashioned magic.”
Q: “The Aleister Crowley variety?”
A: “No, I always thought Crowley was a charlatan. But there was a guy called [Arthur] Edward Waite who was terribly important to me at the time. And another called Dion Fortune who wrote a book called ‘Psychic Self-Defense‘. You had to run around the room getting bits of string and old crayons and draw funny things on the wall, and I took it all most seriously, ha ha ha ! I drew gateways into different dimensions, and I’m quite sure that, for myself, I really walked into other worlds. I drew things on walls and just walked through them, and saw what was on the other side!”

David Bowie, interviewed in NME, 1997

(according to Mark Spitz’ 2010 “Bowie: A Biography”)  “Bowie would sit in the house with a pile of high-quality cocaine atop the glass coffee table.” Bowie became obsessed with the book Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune (Bebergal confirms this bit), which describes itself as a “safeguard for protecting yourself against paranormal malevolence.” Among other things, “Bowie began drawing protective pentagrams on every surface.”

A random quote form the book illuminates the essence of the material:

“It is with a sense of the seriousness of the issues involved that I set myself to the task of writing a book on psychic attack and the best methods of defence against it. The undertaking is beset with pitfalls. It is hardly possible to give practical information on the methods of psychic defence without at the same time giving practical information on the methods of psychic attack. It is not without reason that initiates have always guarded their secret science behind closed doors. To disclose sufficient to be adequate without disclosing sufficient to be dangerous is my problem. But as so much has already been made known concerning the esoteric teachings, and as the circle of students of the occult is becoming rapidly wider every day, it may well be that the time has now come for plain speaking. The task is not of my seeking, but as it has come into my hands, I will do my best to discharge it honourably, making available the knowledge which has come to me in the course of many years’ experience of the strange by-ways of the mind which the mystic shares with the lunatic. This knowledge has not been attained without cost, nor, I suspect, will the divulging of it be altogether free from cost, either.”

Gallery curator Stephen Romano reminisced about how the event came to be…  “So I’m watching ‘Width of a Circle, I’m a huge Mick Ronson fan from way back, probably my first guitar hero when I started to play when I was 12, and it’s the one where Bowie simulates fellatio on Ronson..  It occurs to me (Ronson died in 1992) now they’re both on the other side…   I was going to make a post about that, and went “wait! Hmmm… No, do a SHOW about that…  I asked a few people what they thought and the response was very enthusiastic, especially amongst artist, only one or two clueless ones scoffed at the idea..”

Writer and curator DH Dowling, who was in attendance for the opening proclaimed  “Saint Bowie” is a powerful and inspiring group exhibition remembering David Bowie with tenderness, grace and generosity of spirit. This exhibition displays an extraordinary capacity for transcendence.”

“Saint Bowie” continues through March 29th 2019

Chris Haas “”Lil’ Major Tomcat”” 2016

 

Additional Images

Participating artists: Dolorosa De La Cruz + Barry William Hale + Tine Kinderman + Linnea Strid Caitlin McCormack + Lori Field + Natan Alexander + Rene Pierre Allain Colin Christian + Sas Christian + Nyahzul Blanco + Lauren Levato Coyne Lizz Lopez + Rory Coyne + Inge Vandormael + Travis Lawrence + Chris Haas Erin O’Shea + Ellen Stagg + Donnie Green + Matt Nolen + David Van Gough Kim Bo Yung + Alexis Murray + Nyugen Smith + Craig LaRotonda

The majority of the works in this show are being made specifically for the exhibition