1. They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left.
A story about the artwork ‘Man of Wounds’ by Rik Meijers that we found for Hotel Hotel.
One of the best things about opening a hotel is getting to buy art to deck out the space. It was this task that took us to New York looking at Dutch artist Rik Meijers’s ‘Don’t do that anymore’ exhibition at the Friedman Benda gallery in New York (oh la la, la vie est dure).
Meijers’ paintings depict those for whom things have gone wrong – junkies, drunks, vagrants, drop-outs – the others, the outsiders, the down and outs. At the same time, they also channel a feeling that I think most of us humans feel from time to time – that feeling after a few too many wines, when you’ve had a shit week, when your life is not where you thought it would be (just turned 30, a bit hung-over, without a ‘proper’ job…), and you are on that verge of darkness.
The exhortation is all the more poignant when you know that Bubba Free John (aka Adi Da Samraj aka Da Free John aka Franklin Jones) was by all accounts himself a lot of an alco/junkie and forced to flee the US after being accused of mentally and sexually abusing many of his female followers.
“The title ‘Don’t do that anymore’ (in Dutch, ‘Doe dat niet meer’) refers to the way that people always lapse back into making the same old mistakes and are prisoners of their own weaknesses and shortcomings. This exhortation is a quote from Bubba Free John, an obscure guru from the 1970s. A self-declared incarnation of God on earth, Bubba Free John was the spiritual leader of the Californian sect The Dawn Horse Communion”.
Meijers paintings have an assemblage quality, combining the tools of the downtrodden (such as beer bottle caps, corks and glass) as well as tar and feathers, reminiscent of the vigilante punishment doled out back in the good old days in Europe and the US. Meijers also kindly gives many of his paintings a layer of gold paint as an offering for a new start.
The overarching theme of the exhibition is a respect for “failure and appreciation of mistakes” (van den Boogers) and a loyalty and strong empathy for the outcast.
Rik Meijers’ ‘Man of Wounds’, is hung in the Mosaic room at the Monster kitchen and bar. Comehavalook.