Opening tonight, July 24th at the Congregation Gallery in Hollywood, CA is a group show entitled “The Black Plague Art Show”. Curated by Cam Rackam, this show has a very impressive lineup with new works from: Jason Soles, Buddy Nestor, Cam Rackam, Chris Peters, Christopher Conte, Dan Harding, Ian Ward, Sean Chappell, Terry Wolfinger, Vincent Castiglia, Lacey Bryant, Karl Persson, Nikko Hurtado, Larkin, and many more. Of course we all know the Black Plague to be one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, but one of the elements you will see in many of these works is the outfits the plague doctors would wear. It consisted of a wide brimmed hat (a signifier of being a doctor), a long black overcoat (to minimize exposure), a cane for examining and ushering people around, and most notable the bird’s beak shaped mask. This mask worked similar to a gas mask, as impure air was thought to spread the disease. The mask had red eyepieces, thought to block the doctor from evil, and the beak would be filled with herbs or spices that would reduce the smell and again block impure air.
It’s an outstanding show, and had me surprised quite a few times. Dan Harding’s new piece “La Bella Morte Nera” (or The Beautiful Back Death), is so amazing, his work just keeps getting better. I also liked Jason Soles “Bell Jar Baby” and various masks. Lacey Bryant also has some great, illustrative pieces that really take the idea of the Black Plague as inspiration. “A Surprise for Mum” has the rats that helped spread the plague, and “Pocketful of Posies” is pretty creepy as well. Take a look at the preview images here, and then head over for the full show.