It’s a lazy Saturday, and my sister Becca and I are lying around in my basement listening to Billie Holiday and reading Grimm fairytales and flipping through Juxtapoz. The cover story (Apr 11) is on Margaret Killgallen, an artist and muralist who lived in the Bay Area and died in 2001. The cover (in the pic with my sister the supermodel) is a photo of the painting Backside (oil on wood–a pretty cool support, no?) and the second pic is of Detail of unknown installation.
I usually try to take pictures of local things, but today I’m a ‘pozer art critic, because I want to talk about Killgallen. Her paintings remind me of comic strips, with caricatures of people who inspired her and seemingly random words that weave together more complex ideas. She created travel logs, history lessons and musical compositions within her works.
One of Killgallen’s big themes is travel. In one of the featured pieces, she has crafted a necklace out of pennies flattened on train tracks. She was especially fascinated with train hopping vagabonds who might have flattened said coins. Apparently, there’s a whole set of symbols that vagabonds scratch on the sides of trains to communicate with each other. Very cool.
We also looked through a book called Portrait of a Nation, which has art from the Smithsonian Institution. Shown in the picture is a portrait of American dancer Loie Fuller, who became famous on the Parisian theatre scene in the 1890’s. The “portrait” is actually a poster by Jules Cheret, whose iconic posters broke new ground in lithography and still stun me with their vibrant colors.