by Shawn Vinson
DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY Director/Partner
We recently had the pleasure of hosting one of our favorite people for a ten-day visit to the Deep South. The force of nature that is Kosmo Vinyl had only just returned home to New York from a holiday in England and France. He celebrated Christmas in Normandie with his family and spent some time back in London catching up with friends, including his old mates Mick, Paul and Topper. A few days later, he was boarding a flight to Atlanta for his Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump one-man-show at DIFFERENT TRAINS GALLERY. The opening reception was scheduled for January 20, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. presidential inauguration. But before we could get to the festivities, there was work to be done, and less than 48 hours in which to do it...
First on the agenda was installing the exhibition, which required a few gallons of pink paint and Kosmo breaking out his old coveralls and brushes. One of my favorite Kosmo stories is about the time Ian Dury introduced him to Peter Blake. He quotes Ian as saying: "Kosmo, this is Peter, he's a painter, not houses.". Kosmo, on the other hand, has painted many houses before he started making art. After three coats, the gallery was aglow in a pink hue that would make Benjamin Moore proud.
Next up, we began arranging and hanging the fabulous prints selected from the 80+ that have appeared on Instagram since June 2016. For those not familiar, Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump started as an Instagram series during the presidential campaign, with Kosmo reckoning it'd be finished after November 8. When the election results came in, a friend of his insisted "We need Cisco now more than ever!", and so he has soldiered on.
The first physical incarnation of the project came when the campaign was in full swing. Kosmo came to the AJC Decatur Book Festival and worked with the Atlanta Printmakers Studio to make nearly 300 Cisco screen-prints by hand, giving them away for free to festival attendees.
In March 2017, Kosmo was invited by filmmaker Sara Driver to exhibit at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in Times Square during Armory Week. He enlisted the services of Lux Lab in NYC to produce archival pigment prints with the blackest black ink possible. The walls got the pink treatment and Cisco made his New York City debut. Klaus Biesenbach of MoMA PS1 featured it on his Instagram feed, one of only three posts he made from the fair. The show travelled to Washington D.C. in October and Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post noted: "It’s as though the Clash reunited to challenge Trump, not with songs but with record covers." Needless to say, we were delighted to be bringing Kosmo and Cisco down to Georgia for round 3...
On Friday morning, we took a break from the installation to drive over to the WABE 90.1 Atlanta studios, Atlanta's NPR radio station. Kosmo was interviewed live on City Lights with Lois Reitzes, a daily program that explores the ways in which people express themselves creatively and enhance our lives. Lois and Kosmo had an entertaining and enlightening discussion, which is well worth a listen! Click the link above to hear for yourself.
The Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump opening night was a smashing success. Once again, thank you to Three Taverns Brewery and to everyone who attended. If you were there, we'd love to hear your comments below. It was a star-studded affair with a fair share of Atlanta musicians in the house, including Kevin Kinney and members of Drivin' N Cryin'. Even the Real Donna J. Trump graced us with a visit!
The following week flew by, as it does when Hurricane Kosmo is in town. We had the privilege of visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights with our friend and legendary photographer Jim Alexander. Jim walked us through his photography installation, which is on view at the museum through April 22. A few days later, we got to attend the opening reception for Deborah Roberts fantastic one-woman-show at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Kosmo discovered her work in New York last year and it was a happy coincidence that she was making her Atlanta debut while he was here. Deborah's exhibition continues through May 19. Go see it. Seriously.
A week after the opening, Kosmo returned to the gallery for an artist talk. Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party provided the obligatory tea & scones and we had a full house once again.
Whilst preparing for the talk, I rang the esteemed British printmaker Chris Pig on Skype. Like Kosmo, Chris is a former-Londoner and rabble-rouser, so I thought it'd be fun to finally introduce them via a video chat. Now based in Somerset, England, Chris has designed and built his dream printmaking studio. Being quite the art historian, he was kind enough to email me some questions to ask Kosmo during his artist talk. As it turned out, we only had time for one of Mr Pig's questions, which you'll get to read along with the others in our next blog post, coming up in a few days...
Kosmo Vinyl's Cisco Kid vs Donald Trump exhibition continues through March 3, 2018. Gallery hours are Thursday - Saturday: 11 am - 5 pm + by appointment anytime.
Life is Art.