by Micke Tong
We were first introduced to Unspeakable Projects, a live/work gallery located in SOMA, at Art Pad SF, which took over the rooms at the Phoenix Hotel in the Tenderloin district last spring. The first image we came upon at Unspeakable Projects' booth at Art Pad was an intricate painting of an anonymous figure tea bagging a portrait of President Ronald Reagan. Although political in nature and sophisticated in technique, we knew that Matt Momchilov had the potential to make waves in the contemporary art scene.
Now with representation from Unspeakable Projects, Momchilov returns with a solo exhibit called They Really Want You, inspired by the lyrics of Courtney Love’s song, "Doll Parts." This show mimics fan art that references punk, queer and pop culture movements.
We made our way down the quiet alley of Tehama one sunny Saturday afternoon and were greeted by Mauri Skinfill, Unspeakable Projects's pleasant proprietor. Stepping onto the gallery floor, we felt time-lapsed, stuck somewhere between the early '80s and the mid '90s. Hanging on the walls were black leather silver studded biker jackets that would make Sid Vicious proud. In detailed fashion, the jackets had white charcoal and acrylic images of Stevie Nicks, John Waters, and Aleister Crowley.
Sprawled along the floor was the center piece, “Miss World”, a gypsum concrete sculpture of a drag queen costumed to look like a drunk and crying Courtney Love grasping her Roseanne Barr leather jacket. Behind her are a stack of three dollar compact discs for sale and some crumpled dollar bills. The sculpture itself was eerily realistic and you can tell it was crafted with care.
Even more notable is “Hello, I’m Shelly Duvall”, a painting of Momchilov’s partner standing nonchalantly with folded arms adorning multiple portraiture tattoos of Duvall from a range of different characters the actress has played. Only a true die-hard fan would permanently mark their skin as a tribute to the one who was once Olive Oyl.
With They Really Want You, we believe Matt Momchilov shows us his unique conscience and follows through with this detailed and laborious exhibit. We suggest stopping by Unspeakable Projects to see it for yourself which runs until December 1st, and become a fan, We are.