Dirty Fun: David Hevel’s Pulverized Pop


High kitsch, Looney Tunes and taxidermy critters cavort alongside invocations of Michael Jackson, Brangelina and Lady Gaga at David Hevel's second solo show, “Beautiful, Dirty, Dirty, Rich," at Marx & Zavattero. The San Francisco artist borrowed a lyric from the current queen of dance-floor pop for the name of his exhibit, a witty, unsettling, yet proudly synthetic synthesis of camp attraction and repulsion. It’s not too late to catch the show before it ends on Oct.17.

How apropos that Hevel was recently a resident artist at the SF dump (a.k.a., SF Recycling & Disposal). The oh-so-disposable detritus of mall cult-cha -- from Claire’s costume baubles and ultra-girly nail-color pinks to feathers and fake flowers -- are his materials. And, through the crazy-funhouse mirrors of his pop-centered, queer-eyed perspective -- in a space that sports a trashy Victorian madame vibe with its Styrofoam pink chandelier, faux gold frames and mirrored pedestals -- icons of the media landscape are toasted and/or taken down with transformative, bedazzled aplomb in a kind of princess-y bonfire of the vanities.

Financier Bernie Madoff, for instance, is the given a sharp poke in Bernie Madoff, You’re a Giant Prick: pale, waxy snot pours from the cavernous nostrils of dark metallic auto-painted rhino taxidermy form. A string of cheap jet beads swings lamely from its neck, much like the investors the convicted swindler left tragically dangling. The Adoration of Brad Pitt bundles a weirdly cute baboon form with barbarous amounts of fake floral stuffs, drippy tinsel, and Xmas ornaments -- the ticky-tacky White Christmas fantasy comments on the faux pomp and overwhelm of the media circus surrounding the Hollywood golden boy.

The frivolous fun and garish absurdity of fashion, decoration and ornamentation are, of course,  major components in the mixed media work of Hevel, who graduated with an MFA in film and video performance from the California College of the Arts, but so too are aspirational fantasy, pop obsession and religious iconography: behold the bewigged and feathered unicorns of Heaven Cant Wait (Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett), angels (Charlie’s or otherwise) ready to be venerated by little girls and boys who still fetishize their My Little Unicorns. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Hevel explodes next.   

“Beautiful, Dirty, Dirty, Rich” is on view through Saturday, Oct. 17, at Marx & Zavattero, 77 Geary St., second floor, SF. (415) 627-9111, www.marxzav.com

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