Friday, May 29, 2009

Rediculous on Display: Max Juren

max juren
a performance and video screening

PURE ENERGY, Max Juren + Weird Beard, 2007

Saturday, May 30, 2009
Domy Books, Houston
1709 Westheimer


Max Juren's videos require a hefty dose of, well, inebriation, to be fully appreciated. Their resin-soaked frames scream out for more of whatever floats your boat until the raucous cacophony of imagery washes over the viewer like a day-glow tidal wave. In experimental, abstract videos, green screen experiments and disturbing narrative vignettes Juren's singular vision is a tunnel of internal references, brutal dissections of taboos and hilarious send ups of stereotypical artists and Texan characters. Hippie culture, low-brow humor, performance art and consumer excesses are lampooned regularly by this Austin art scene mainstay.

Produced by Monofonus Press, Max Juren Videos is the debut collection by the wild-haired artist. In film after film Max inserts himself as protagonist, antagonist or bit character, his unmistakable matted mane of blonde locks and creepy flesh-colored beard discernible through his innumerable costumes. When a dancing cactus in a cartoon world has a mental breakdown, throwing himself to the ground in a fit of despair, that's Juren. When a man without pants jumps off of his roof to smash his face into a cake shaped like a hamburger, that's him too. With the addition of a compact cast of actors, the artist has found a locus from which to swing his imagination wildly.

Channeling Viennese Actionists, The Slaughter is a recording of a backyard performance piece with a death metal soundtrack. A skinny jeans clad butcher hangs one chicken by his foot above a large sheet of white paper. When he slits the bird's throat the blood pours forth and the grumbling guitar picks up the pace. When a second chicken is beheaded and hung from a similar noose, the flapping wings of the decapitated fowl splatter blood in all directions, spinning wildly. The fuzzed out power chords pick up speed, and the soundtrack is revealed to be live as the guitarist wanders into the frame, worshiping at the altar of metal.

Pure Energy is a captivating romp featuring Weird Beard, a red-bearded wildman wearing tie-dye long johns and tearing up an extended drum solo. Juren flips the script with mirror effects, like an old Black Sabbath music video, before the set, the drum kit, the room, the beard and the tie dye pajamas all catch fire.

In a myriad of bizarre tales, Max Juren exemplifies the marriage of youtube slapstick and art film deadpan. The best film in this collection is Jax Neuron, where the artist pokes fun at himself and his profession mercilessly; getting stoned on Mars, parodying big-headed video artists and specifically stating "I spit on Hasselhoff's grave." Make sure you don't miss The Great Bludini's Magic Show, and if you're at the Domy screening Saturday night, make sure that you're properly seasoned.


Russell said...

Thanks, Sean!