Way back on Monday night, March 15, I was fortunate to witness the opening lecture and reception for Gary Panter's residency at Pasadena City College (March 15-19), the twenty-fourth annual iteration of PCC's Artist-in-Residence Program. I took a bunch of notes with the hope of blogging the event here at TB, but, alas, no, my work schedule beat the stuffings out of me. I can't say much more than that I enjoyed the whole evening and Panter knocked my socks off with his work and his unfiltered, unpretentious, enthusiastic and humane POV.
Panter's talk, free-ranging, instructive and delightful, consisted of about an hour's worth of randomly-sorted autobiography, reflection, and highly personal art criticism. With a lot of visuals.
For me it was a kind of sequel to his MoCCA 2009 panel. In any case, it served to usher visitors (packed to overflowing in the campus's Vosloh Forum lecture hall, and some outside watching the event via video feed) into, or back into, Panter's aesthetic world. Afterward we ventured cross-campus to the PCC Art Gallery, which is directed by my friend Brian Tucker, teacher, artist, and curator. There we basked in an exhibit of Panter's paintings, prints, and one (then in-progress) on-site wall drawing, collectively titled New Planet. Brian, who had introduced Panter and his work earlier, had supervised the mounting of the exhibit (March 15 to May 1) and was clearly agog about being able to bring, wow, Gary Panter to the gallery. Understandably. Anyway, it was a great show, and a testament to Brian's dedication. One print was brand-new, having been pulled that afternoon and mounted, apparently, during Panter's lecture. The wall drawing, a sprawling improvisatory workout, white chalk on black plaster, was a beaut. The gallery reception lasted for a good couple of hours and I could hardly bring myself to go until the very end.
Gossip that I am, I have to say that the large, happy crowd included, besides Brian and many from the PCC community, my friend Michael Dooley and a bevy of other artists, including Coop, Matt Groening, Jaime Hernandez, John Pham, Johnny Ryan, and Robert Williams (whom I'd just seen at CSU Northridge a few days before). The gallery setting was intimate, the vibe welcoming, the evening a lovely, shapeless series of low-key conversations -- goosed momentarily when eager fans gathered round with cameras poised to catch some shots of Panter signing some stuff for his old friend Groening.
BTW, I believe Panter and my father were born in the same town, Durant, Oklahoma.
Photos follow. Some are technically poor but still revealing and fun for me to look at again. This is old news, but I hope you'll enjoy seeing it archived here (click the thumbnails for closer views):
I can't quite identify the artist whose work is represented in the slide behind Panter. I should be able to, because Panter spoke of him at length (and I took notes). I think it might be Tadanori Yokoo, but can anyone out there help me confirm that? Nope, it's Eduardo Paolozzi: check out the comments below!