This will snap your neck. Gang of one, Bunny Rogers, Ms. “Everything But an Off Switch,” echoes her solo show WRJNGER (co-curated by Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist for their “long-term, multi-platform research project,” 89plus, currently on display at Foundation De 11 Lijnen, Belgium), with the New York City debut of Columbine Cafeteria now at Greenspon Gallery, the sequel to her Columbine Library, shown at Societé in Berlin in 2014.
Is art just war conducted by other means? Let’s size up her all-fronts-at-once onslaught offensive. Incorporating paintings, animated film (3D rendering duplicates the dimensions of that crime scene cafeteria), hand-sewn clothing, hand-made mops (their handles’ knot holes are trompe l’oeil), stained glass, one Minkie Pie Love Lock, whatever that would prove to be . . . the taint of bruised fruit imbued with the plaint of skull-and-bones-prone Elliot Sharp, assorted sordid sobjects d’art effect a not so solemn sanctification of those sanguinary high school shootings.
Need I add the undisputed fact that Bunny Rogers’ My Apologies Accepted is the best book of English poetry since The Faery Queen?
Staying on mission, her haunt musique movie Mandy’s Piano Solo in Columbine Cafeteria (2016) projects through a life-sized snow globe whose flakes fall on the floor. Wafts from black snow-making machinery perched aloft its gallery wall. View cartoonish Mandy Moore of TV’s Clone High poignantly fingering her baby grand. While IRL, you top a piano bench, beneath the lid lie Mandy’s socks.
Incomprehension is a mood; well suited to mass murder. Mourning sickness. The whole sense of this installation is incensed extermination. Kids do the damnedest things.
Mops and pails. Cops no longer clean up blood. “They say the son must bear the burdens of the father. Yeah, but it’s the daughter—who’s left to clean up the mess” (Cowboy Junkies). Mandy manifests also in a stained glass triptych, embracing Pirate Jenny, I suppose. Both boast yellow halos hovering over their heads. Blessing their union, Rogers tells us this: ”They go to a party where people are drinking alcohol, which is rare for cartoons. With tears in her eyes, Joan calls Mandy an angel. I’ve sometimes felt that way about my female friends.”
Bunny Rogers’ WRJNGER, too, props homemade mops against its walls, drops strangled ceramic birds, gray on grey, upon FD11L’s expo floor. Code Red: Def Con 1. Co-concurrently, Rogers participates in We Are All Traitors, May 8-29, at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies. Earlier, she engaged in a signature type of planking. Planking is hard play. We lie flat, stiff, face down, on arduous, uninviting surfaces, say, an escalator’s steps. She devised equine planking . . . Posing on all fours, head erect, tail raised, on point, if you please. I’ve seen photos of her in a saddle blanket. In 2015, she offered her Self-Portrait as Clone of Jeanne d’Arc in the Unorthodox show at the Jewish Museum, as if that exhibit’s name was specifically eponymous.
Cafeteria Wardrobe (2016): In a worried wardrobe, Watteau’s pierrot hangs, then gives up the ghost. Ingenuous. Ingenious. Class plus sass. Rogers fashioned weeping willow chairs, devoting Goth Poe’s Philosophy of Furniture to Dali’s surrealist clocks; has an avatar on Second Life. Neo pets. Madwomen of Chaillot as of Shalott.
Let’s call a truce. Originality is closer to result. Hers is not Trecartin’s saccharin on steroids, that YA product placement wizard. (Lizzie Fitch, do Valley Girls still rule L.A.?) Rogers makes a place for an oddly elegant space. Love and peace, above and after all.
Bunny Rogers: Columbine Cafeteria continues at Greenspon (71 Morton Street, West Village, Manhattan) through June 25.