Art versus artist: a battle to the death

Local art crew will obliterate their own creations.

Art versus artist: a battle to the death

by Carter Haaland


What: âÄúExecute Rogue CitizenâÄù art execution

When: Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Gallery 13, 811 LaSalle Ave.

Cost: Free

The act of beating instruments to death on stage has seen a steady decrescendo in excitement since Pete Townshend first turned his Rickenbacker into a pile of kindling. Now 47 years down the tracks, the act itself, quite frankly, has been beaten to death.

Local live art crew Rogue Citizen will attempt to resurrect this auto-destructive spectacle, but do not fret âÄî no instruments will be harmed in the process. The target of the politically charged tantrum will be their own artwork.

Since its formation in 2009, this outfit has been vandalizing canvases throughout the Twin Cities with self-trained hands and unapologetic political commentary.

âÄúOur name, âÄòRogue Citizen,âÄô really conjures up a very powerful political idealism, and I think that translates very well into our artwork,âÄù Eric Mattheis said, representing one-fourth of the artist collective. âÄúWe use a lot of different political-themed messages.âÄù

The groupâÄôs most recent political statement is drawn from their beef with the U.S. prison system. Adorning the walls of Gallery 13 is a collection of youthful, political angst that screams loud enough to poof Angela DavisâÄô fro back up to full 1960s volume.

âÄúWe really like to bring injustice to the forefront in our art. We really like to try to expose corruption in what we do,âÄù Mattheis said.

Mattheis works at a halfway home for ex-felons and has seen first-hand the narrative of his clientele being swept under the welcome mat of the Levittown American dream.

âÄú[The prison system] is not for rehabilitation; itâÄôs containment. ThatâÄôs what they call it, but itâÄôs not really not rehabilitation at all,âÄù he said.

The artistic products of thesesentiments have numbered days. All artwork not sold by AprilFoolsâÄô Day will be destroyed. And the fellas of Rogue Citizen are ready to lay the smackdown.

âÄúWeâÄôre taking axes. WeâÄôre taking bats. WeâÄôre going to smash âÄòem over our heads. WeâÄôre just going to obliterate them,âÄù Mattheis said.

Of course, as with all seemingly farfetched forms of artistic expression, the creators have a finely tailored combination of words used to defend artistic merit. According to Mattheis, the execution is the most significant part of the entire exhibition.

âÄúItâÄôs a message saying that if you donâÄôt value this art enough, then there is no hope for it. WeâÄôre not going to sell it to you at a discounted price. WeâÄôre not going to take it home and try to hang it at a different show. ItâÄôs going to be gone forever just like the people who disappear in our prison system,âÄù he said.

Whether youâÄôre a Gustav Metzger scholar or you simply like watching things be destroyed like a googley-eyed monster truck fan, Rogue CitizenâÄôs impending art execution will more than likely be an entertaining affair.