Sitting in the Electric Chair
By Seth Joseph
For Loud Magazine

     Ever since the disappearance of the Against the Grain Gallery, I have been looking for the next hip, off-the-radar, alternative art space so that I might be the first to crassly exploit its cool cachet. Well, thanks to a tip-off from Chris A. Palmer, I have found it at the Book Beat & Company, on South West 89th and Walker. The owners of the city's favorite clearinghouse for the arcane, obscure and just plain bizarre have added a new feature to their establishment: an art gallery.

     The Electric Chair Gallery, as they are calling it, is little more than a small, rectangular room with surprisingly great lighting that is set off from the rest of the store. What makes it so special is that it is in a near-constant state of flux, bringing in a new artist every week. Palmer's show went up on the 24th, and the next show is going up on the 31st. The openings are set to go from 8 to 11 pm, and there were ample refreshments provided. I suggest you make it a point to stop by every Saturday night to check out the new show.

     I stopped in this weekend to see Chris A. Palmer's show, and if you read this article before Friday, go ahead and take a look at what he has put together. There is a good chance that you have seen Palmer's work before. The places that I know he has shown at include Borders, the most recent Momentum show, and the Against the Grain Gallery. Also, you may have seen his work on posters and flyers for Smarty Pants, the band he plays guitar for on the side. His work has a very definite look, relying on flat colors, paper mache, words and animal shapes (especially the elephant, which seems extremely important to his collection as a whole). At first glance, his pictures seem free and unconstrained, almost childish, and I fear that will keep some from taking his work seriously. I felt more that I was seeing the visual result of one man's exploration of the stream of consciousness technique. And while it was obvious that a young artist created the works, the collection seemed less about making apologies for inexperience and more about taking chances with different mediums. Pieces are priced to move (I think the highest priced item was $100, but most were approximately half that), and you are encouraged to help yourself to stickers, bookmarks, and posters.

     Overall, the Electric Chair proved to be some of the best fun I had all week. Check it out. Then come back and check it out next week.