Neon night at the Crocker Art Museum
Black lights, body art, craft stations and a psychedelic light show swirling with acid-flashback potential—all were on display during the Crocker Art Museum's January 9 Art Mix / Neon Nite mixer.
Outside, John Sonderegger and Ted Ternes, two artists from the Rainbow Prism Atomic Lightshow collective, lit up the museum's courtyard entrance with kaleidoscopic rainbows, hallucinogenic liquid suspensions and freaky fractals to go with that sustainably grown chardonnay. From behind a black curtain on the balcony, the electro-sorcerers beamed pools of prismatic light onto the ceiling and cloth screens.
Inside the museum, hanging from an aerial silk that spanned the length of three stories, Alice Karrasch and Matt Wright from West Sacramento's Aerial Evolution twirled in the oscillating light show. They took turns ascending and star dropping as onlookers took in the aerialists' arabesques, splits and cross-back straddles twice an hour from the balcony above and cafe tables below. Wright and Karrasch made sure to wear cosmic nebula-print yoga tights, the only attire appropriate for dancing in a sea of rainbows.
In the auditorium, artist Kristen Hoard showed off her latest series of ocean-inspired light sculptures. From scraps of metal wire and abandoned Weber grills, Hoard constructed a family of blue and green jellyfish lamps upon finding inspiration during a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
“That [first jellyfish] started as a fire sculpture, but then I got mad at it and I kicked it,” Hoard said of the project's genesis.
“And then I saw the jellyfish. All the metal is recycled; I get it at scrap yards, even the Weber. I put the light on, thinking I'll just light up the tentacles—how nice that will be.”
The result, she says, surprised her.
“When I turned off the lights in my studio, I screamed. This was new, I had just started playing with light,” Hoard said. “I didn't realize what the shadows would do. It was an accident.”
Hoard used a plasma cutter to puncture wavy holes in the jellyfish’s grill hood to project an undersea aura on the walls and ceiling.
At center stage, Hoard's color-changing piece, “River of Possibilities,” looked like the Mariana Trench, a sliver of the Grand Canyon or an earthquake frozen in time, depending on what color setting was picked.
Elsewhere, local painter and illustrator Lily Moon's installation included a meeting room filled with dozens of cardboard cutout figures illuminated by black-light-activated ink that crisscrossed their naked bodies. Here, Moon's characters are depicted as struggling through every phase of human life, from womb to tomb, tethered to destructive relationships and technological crutches.
During the event, Moon bopped across the room to Dizzy Gillespie's “Salt Peanuts” as she narrated a frenetic story acted out by her frozen figures.
“He's reacting to his parents screaming at each other,” Moon told the crowd. “But they aren't listening to each other anymore. The actions of his parents have caused him to be introverted, and someone needs to help him. But that's not for me to tell you how to do that, that's up to you.”