On view at Spencer Brownstone Gallery is a selection of sequined banner and sculptural works by artists Anna Galtarossa and Daniel Gonzalez. The exhibition entitled, No Money, No Honey, is linked to the duo’s Chili Moon Town Tour, a floating migrant city and public art work that came to fruition over Chapultepec Lake, Mexico City, and marked the opening of MACO (Mexico’s international contemporary art fair). The city’s base measures about 26 x 26 feet, and the skyscrapers reach up to 29 feet in height. The entire structure stays afloat by the 90 plastic barrels that are tied to the base. Galtarossa and Gonzalez created the works in No Money, No Honey as a collection of afterthoughts inspired by the experiences of planning, building, and viewing the Chili Moon Town Tour.
Upon entering the gallery one is greeted by Monument to Real Estate, a long-snouted buffalo and donkey hybrid covered in rhinestones, sequince, and embroidered lace. This absurd animal, pocked with examples of superficiality and decadence, stands front and center as a flashy dedication to the covetous real estate market. Ironically, Chili Moon Town Tour is funded almost entirely on a system based on this very industry.
The public may purchase various sections of real estate in this migrant city similar to the way contribution levels are set up to be a member of your favorite institution. Each buyer receives a certificate and an artwork ranging from a large-scale sculpture to a poster, depending on whether you have bought a penthouse or a studio apartment. The influence of these real estate purchases, however, differs greatly compared to what we New Yorkers have grown accustomed. Instead of contributing to increasing rent costs, gentrification, and the disappearance of landmark-worthy architecture, buying into Chili Moon Town is a contribution to a dream. As each apartment is sold, strangers from different towns, cities and countries become neighbors, creating a city untethered to any particular region. Instead of a nationless city with no heritage, Chili Moon Town nurtures the gathering of histories across time and space, represented visually through the icons and neon billboards that decorate the structure.
The figures and words that appear on the banners on view at Spencer Brownstone are mostly taken from the city’s advertisements. Galtarossa and Gonzalez did not allow for the promotion of any commercial items or companies; the icons and quotes chosen for display act as a tribute to the history of art, literature, and pop culture that spans across geographical borders— an amalgamation of ideas and inspirations picked from the collective unconscious. Collapsing the hierarchy of what is considered quotable, Mexican slang phrases such as “no manches” occupy the same space as an excerpt from an Oscar Wilde poem. There is no reference as to where either phrase originated, establishing their equal placement in Chili Moon Town’s collective memory. One goal of Chili Moon Town is to create an environment in which this concept becomes tangible, something in which we may all participate.
Accessible by small boats, one may travel through the sequined interior of the city center. Two thousand bottles clank against the bottom of the boats as they enter the tunnel. Visitors are encouraged to insert notes with wishes into the bottles that will travel with the Chili Moon Town Tour to the next location. These deposited wishes, hopes, and dreams will unite and mix with those written by new visitors, and so on. Mimicking the migratory pattern of most Mexican immigrants (and those immigrating through Mexico), the tour plans to go to Los Angeles, and then New York City. Anna Galtarossa, Daniel Gonzalez and Chili Moon Town Tour Productions have successfully discovered a way to make the benefits of real estate accessible to all levels of society.
The banner works are on view at Spencer Brownstone Gallery through February 16, 2008. Prospective property owners and dreamers are welcome to find more information or make contributions through http://www.chilimoontown.com/.
Photos Courtesy Spencer Brownstone Gallery, New York