Meat, Chapter 3: The Maggots Will Find You

April 21 - May 12, 2015

Since the mid 1980’s, Boston-based visual artist Luther Price has been known for his deeply personal, and at times disturbing, Super-8mm films and live performances. In recent years, Price has moved from the Super 8mm format to recycled, distressed, and hand-painted 16mm films and 35mm slides. His 35mm slide work has garnered much attention since their critically acclaimed debut at The Whitney Biennial in 2012. This exhibition follows Price’s Meat series, inspired by a violent incident in Nicaragua in 1985 when Price was shot with a high-powered rifle in his left abdomen. This traumatic experience symbolically killed the trauma of Price’s childhood. The ghosts of his traumatic childhood, the death of his mother and sister in the late 90s, and the remnants of his gunshot wound are recurring examinations in Luther’s body and his body of work. This exhibition features a brand-new series of handmade 35mm slides, the second ever exhibition of Price’s little-seen sculpture work from the mid-to-late 1980s, and a series of 40 photographs from the late 80s by photographer Russell Scholl.  A mini-retrospective of Luther Price’s moving-image works will accompany the Usdan Exhibition. On Monday April 20 at 7pm, programmer, curator and Visiting Faculty Warren Cockerham will screen three of Price’s early films: Warm Broth (1988), Sodom (1989), and Clown (1991). On Wednesday April 22 at 7pm, Cockerham will screen six Super 8mm and 16mm films: Home (1999), Recitations (1999), Door # 2-37 (1997), House (1990), Fancy (2006), and Kittens Grow Up (2007).  Luther Price will be in attendance at both screenings and a conversation between Warren Cockerham and Luther Price and audience q&a will follow both screenings.


Tuesday, April 21
Opening reception
6:30pm – 9pm

Monday, April 20 at 7pm
Screening of Luther Price’s Early Films Warm Broth (1988), Sodom (1989), and Clown (1991)

Wednesday, April 22 at 7pm
Screening of Super 8mm and 16mm films Home (1999), Recitations (1999), Door # 2-37 (1997), House (1990), Fancy (2006), and Kittens Grow Up (2007)

Gallery Hours
Tuesday – Saturday, 1:00PM – 5:00PM

warren,……i try to hide because i know the maggots will come ……like my mother tried to hide when she she wanted to get away from my father in 1969 ……..she pretended to run away from home …but my father …before he went to look for her told my sister sally and i to clean our room and he would be back …..well..while cleaning our room and making our bed ….we found mama hiding under the bed ……we were shocked to find her there …….and and more so to see her fisting .”..go away…….dont tell him im here’…………..wel,…we thought she might be hungry so we went into the kichen to see what we could find …..a can of pineapples………….so with the can opener at age 5 and 6 , we got it open …put it in a bowl and walked it very carefully to our bedroom …trying ..all the way not to spill a drop of juice…………but………………..when we bent over to push it under the bed …..mamma was saying no………i dont want it and waving her arms …get it away …it spilled all over her face and hair.,………… thing …my father comes home…mamma is sitting at the kicthen table drinking a cup of ,maxwell house and smoking a paul mall……..with a towel on her head …dud came back and said ‘ where have you been ”………………

- Luther Price

About the Artists

Known since the 1980s for his Super-8 films and performances, Luther Price has, in recent years, turned to 16mm film, creating new works from discarded prints of old documentaries, snippets of Hollywood features, and other examples of cinematic detritus. He re-edits the footage by hand, effaces the image through scraping, buries the films to rot and gather mold, and adds chaotic visual patterns using colored inks and permanent markers. For soundtracks, he frequently uses only the brutal electromechanical noise generated by sprocket holes running through the projector’s audio system. Each reel he produces is thereby a unique object, often altered to such an extent that it struggles through the projector, as if playing out the end of film itself; his is a cinema that ecstatically embraces its death drive, so as to achieve maximum potency.

Using some of the same techniques as for his films, the artist also creates handmade slides. Price makes these slides to stand as general representations of his film pieces; when asked to contribute an image of his work for publication, he prefers to submit a slide, rather than reproduce one frame of a filmstrip, because each slide exists as a discrete, independent work. These isolated objects, however, demonstrate just as much strength as the films they are intended to epitomize.

Price typically begins with found footage, which he cuts up and reassembles, combines, and otherwise alters. He often presses other things between the two glass plates of the slides, projecting ants, dirt, and adhesive materials onto the gallery wall. Like his films, these slides are studies of a dying technology, pushing and exploring the qualities of light projected through and onto a variety of transparent, semitransparent, and opaque materials.

- Ed Halter

Russell Scholl is a Brooklyn-based artist, musician, and curator of film/video programs (themes include animation, jazz, burlesque, educational/propaganda, etc.), which have been screened at such venues as Yale School of Art, the Arts Center of the Capital Region (Troy, NY), and Barbes in Brooklyn. Working with the multimedia collective rev.99, Scholl has had his own video work screened at Anthology Film Archives in New York and The Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington, D.C.  As a musician, he has played with The Weal and Woe, The Brooklyn Playboys, Orrin Starr and others.  He produced an album by noted American folk artist Howard Finster, “The Night Howard Finster Got Saved” (Global Village Music), and appeared in the 2007 PBS television documentary “Soundies: A Musical History.”  Scholl studied Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art (BFA, 1987), where he and Luther Price met and enjoyed several years of fruitful collaboration.  Most of the photographs on view document their work together at MassArt in the 1980s.