The storefront Rotofugi, which does not carry ceramic one-eyed cats smoking, now holds around eighty original works by Chad Kouri and David “Netherland” van Alphen. Kouri, a member of local design collective Post Family, got off his computer and made a large body of collage work for this, his first solo exhibition. “Concoction” is a man’s drink, Kouri’s imagery calling me back to the pages of my father’s Playboys. Index cards tiled on handcrafted panels lay ground for cocktails of mid-century advertisements. An assortment of pin-up girls snuggle up to packs of Chesterfields and other products of yesteryear, clear references to Kouri’s source materials and other commercial-cum-fine artists like James Rosenquist or Tom Wesselman. The instruments of Kouri’s mash-ups also find a corner in the gallery, three sampling Casio keyboards and a dozen pairs of scissors, no doubt his weapon in mining through fifties Life magazines. Meanwhile a cluster of found-framed work encourages us to ‘slow down,’ literally in eight silkscreen letters, to investigate some smaller formal studies, while sections of library records seduce us with $20 price tags. Rotofugi gallery curator David van Alphen also offers us a bit of nostalgia. In the front gallery we find a series of leisure-suited vintage stereo equipment, collaged behind heavy resin or varnish, mounted alongside hand-painted skateboards. Their execution is super-human, candy-coated surfaces relegating them to the world of objects manufactured by machines, in some ways blurring the distinction from the anime wonderland in the shop next door. (Joe Jeffers)
Through January 24 at Rotofugi, 1953-55 W. Chicago.