Gary Panter is always devising new things to challenge himself and the world (or part of it). This time, he says, “I seem to have convinced people I am trying to do a store, but it is really a shrine or meditation on the head shop, featuring arrangements of my candles, beads, fabric printing, fake hippie newspaper!!!!!!!!!!!!!, black light and other posters and ephemera. Could be a horrible failure, but I hope not.”
Panter writes that he is planning “a single or various versions of art installation that invoke my first entering into a headship and hippie record store in 1968 in Mt. Shasta California on a family car trip from Texas, which also involved hearing California radio stations and certain songs that would take me decades to seek out.”
One such store was “a real hippie head shop in Shasta … replete with smelly hippie kids doing their thing in the store, making stuff, braiding, beading, silk screening, fluting, strumming, making music, hanging out.”
The store concept is found in Panter’s Hippie Trips 2014 sketchbook, a delightful and partially annotated compilation of store products and designs. Published by Bad Dimension in L.A., it is currently being sold at Printed Matter in New York City. It is a facsimile book and each copy comes with a prismatic sticker and iron-on patch.
“Hippie tropes can be deadly,” says Panter. But this has all the irony you’d expect from this master of punk. An accompanying show, “Hippie Trips 2017,” will be in the project room curated by Leo Fitzpatrick at Marlborough Contemporary, 545 W. 25th St., on Oct. 12. “The publisher Bad Dimension also is making useless bongs for me,” he adds. “So the whole thing is sincere and funny.”
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