Disco Inferno! Curated by Matthew Couper
Momas and Dadas
Doowntown Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
7 June - 2 July, 2013
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Exhibition Poster for DISCO INFERNO

Special thanks to Jevijoe Vitug, JK Russ, Paul Nache, Billy Logan, Sanjay Theodore, Fernanda Celant and the participating artists for contributing to the development of the exhibition.

Matthew Couper Presents

Al Habid (QAT)
Cerita Melayu (MYS)
Chan Xing (CHN)
Enzo Guida (ITA)
Fernanda Celant (ITA)
Frederico ‘Floyd’ Rocca (ITA)
Kazul (IRN)
Marco Riccardo (ITA)
Nawal Abdullah (UAE)
Mario del Rosario (PHL)
Red Flag Coalition (TWN)
Sanjay Theodore (IND)
S.I.S. (IRN)
Seiji Takahashi (JAP)

With the recent opening of the 55th International La Biennale di Venezia, Momas N Dadas holds a parallel pavilion of its own, gathering together an exhibition of young, ambitious and relatively unknown international artists selected by Matthew Couper to represent Las Vegas culture as a party in Hell.

As a flipside from first-time biennale participant, Vatican City; DISCO INFERNO – from the far-flung underworld of Las Vegas – presents an exhibition of artworks which slovenly give into temptation, present low moral standards while having a damn fine time doing so. The gathered group of artists certainly promote an Encyclopedic Palace of the debauched.

Publicity made possible by Resource Art and Development (RAD)

'Disco Inferno: An exhibit for our hellish summer' by Jenessa Kenway, Las Vegas CityLife, June 10, 2013.
Link to article: http:// lasvegascitylife.com/blog/ culture-alert/ disco-inferno-exhibit-our-h ellish-summer.html

installation (courtesy of Jevijoe Vitug)
1. Sanjay Theodore, ‘Class Booga Danse’, 2013, oil, acrylic and pastel on canvas, bubble wrap, wood logs and cardboard

2. Mario del Rosario, ‘Burn, Obama, Burn!’, 2007, acrylic heavy gel on canvas

3. Cerita Melayu, ‘Submissive Fetish’, 2013, sex toy and pedestal, variable dimensions

4. Frederico ‘Floyd’ Rocca, 'Trance', 2012, oil on linen

5. Fernanda Celant, ‘Povera Ma Sexy’, 2013, found objects, typed instructions on paper

6. Chan Xing, ‘Hell Rich’, 2013, oil, acrylic and gold paint on canvas


7. Nawal Abdullah, ‘Puppet Dance of Death’, 2013, mixed media on acetate and polaroid
8. Seiji Takahashi, ‘Some Like It Hot’, 2013, printed cellophane, duct tape, acrylic and oil on canvas
9. S.I.S., ‘Hijab-Women’s Choice’, 2013, found materials
10. Kazul, ‘Firewater Demon’, 2013, paint on found materials
11. Al Habid, ‘Car Crash Disco Ball’, 2013, windshield glass and found ball
12. Enzo Guida, ‘Vomitorium’, 2013, tempera and varnish on found oil painting and frame, variable dimensions
13. Marco Riccardo, 'Disco Inferno', 2013, video and soundtrack, 5 minutes and 40 seconds (loop), edition of 6
14. Red Flag Coalition, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, 2013, installation: lechon (roasted pig), acrylic on canvas, tent, variable dimensions
Red Flag Coalition, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and Marco Riccardo, 'Disco Inferno' on wall
installation (courtesy of Jevijoe Vitug)
installation (courtesy of Jevijoe Vitug)
installation (courtesy of Jevijoe Vitug)
Disco Inferno: An exhibit for our hellish summer by JENESSA KENWAY
11:50 am - June 10, 2013 — Updated: 1:08 pm - June 11, 2013

ugh? The heaters are on and everything,” joked artist Matthew Couper. Summer settled on Las Vegas during First Friday, just in time for the opening of the new exhibit Disco Inferno, curated by Couper and opening at the Momas N’ Dadas project space, making the hellish heat implied by the title a reality.

Pulling in work by 14 international artists, the exhibit offers a “parallel pavilion,” according to Couper, to the 55th International Venice Biennial that opened three weeks ago in Italy. But it also offers commentary on and an inversion of the Biennale’s newest addition: an art display commissioned by Vatican City.

“If the Vatican can do something about heaven, then Las Vegas can do something about hell,” explained Couper. “Disco Inferno is about the idea of coming to Vegas to play in hell.”

Works in the exhibit playfully romp through hell, its blasphemous indulgences including an upside-down crucifix in the work of Italian artist Fernanda Celant’s “Povera Ma Sexy,” and gay lovers masturbating on a pink-zebra sofa by Japanese artist Seji Takahashi. The fleshy pink boobs of a sex toy titled “Submissive Fetish” by Cerita Melayu, an artist from Malaysia, are squeezed like small nippled balloons, inflated from the pressure of the white pedestal squishing it on the floor. Nearby, a work by Italian artist Enzo Guida presents a picture frame vomiting out a painted landscape, marked with a Mudra — like the strange, comical exorcism of a bad painting.

Outside, visitors were invited to eat slices carved from a roasted pig on display, part of the edible art piece by Taiwan's Red Flag Coalition. Like a bad joke, a panel above the carcass read, “No animal was harmed in the making of this art.” It's probable no animals were involved in painting the panel, but placing it with the pork buffet forces an amusing contradiction and perhaps the vision of a hell kitchen.

Playing on the wall above the roast pig, the proverbial dance in the lake of fire took place in the form of a devil-boogie video compilation by Italian artist Marco Riccardo. The inspiration for the devils came from Internet GIFs, heavy metal bands, the devil 'bot from Futurama, a cloven-hoofed Ned applying a plunger to the head of Homer Simpson — all rocking out to an electronic dance music remix of the hit song “Disco Inferno.”

Part of the strategy of organizing Disco Inferno with such a diverse roster of international artists on short notice — planning began in March — involved the shipping of ideas rather than completed objects. While some of the works were in fact sent completed, others arrived with only a couple of items, and in some instances, the only delivery were written instructions including what items to gather and directions on how to assemble them. 

The concept that the essence of a work of art is its idea was largely instigated by Sol LeWitt, whose complicated wall drawings were executed by others following strict instructions written by the artist. It's especially advantageous, given the distance a completed work would have to travel. 

“It shows a way of going about making work cheap, or just sending a few instructions,” said Couper. “It's sending an idea, like, ‘That person is a car crash, they can’t dance,’ then going and finding a broken-out windshield and gluing all the pieces to a ball” — as was done for a piece in the show titled “Car Crash Disco Ball,” by Qatar artist Al Habid.

The end result is a juicy influx of ideas being explored by artists from all over the world, interrupting our normally local-centric focus with an opportunity for creative types here to see what’s happening out there — and cross-cultural idea-sharing is traditionally one of the goals of an art biennale. Lacking the comfort of air-conditioning, the small Vegas pavilion is boiling over with art ideas, both literally and figuratively.

©copyright Matthew Couper / Couper Russ Studios LLC 2004-2014