Preview: “Boxes of Death” Traveling Exhibit Comes to the Piranha Shop

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Photo by Nam Chi Van

Sometimes our crassest jokes reveal our hidden anxieties, while other times we create beautiful rituals surrounding that which we fear. It’s human nature to make light of death in order to not be consumed by the often incomprehensible idea of mortality. Examining a spectrum of responses to this difficult subject, Seattle gallery Roq La Rue recently collaborated with The Piranha Shop for a touring exhibition, “Boxes of Death.” Featuring well-known artists from the Pop Surrealist and low brow currents — like Camille Rose Garcia, Isabel Samaras and Casey Weldon — the show hit stops in LA, Portland and San Francisco and will be exhibited in Seattle for one night only at The Piranha Shop tomorrow, October 17.

Though the 50 exhibiting artists were all given uniform, miniature coffins to use as canvases, their diverse approaches reveal their unique styles and attitudes towards the show’s subject matter. Installation artist Crystal Wagner, for instance, created one of her ornate, paper terrariums inside the hexagonal box. In their context, the floral sculptural forms flourish like symbols of rebirth. Anthony Ausgang playfully turned his coffin into a sort of morbid ukelele, while David M. Cook adorned his with a demonic, neon skull that would surely be seen as irreverent in the context of America’s ceremonious attitudes towards honoring the deceased.

According to curators Kirsten Anderson and Duffy, the concept for the show was inspired by the work of Kane Quaye, a renowned Ghanaian artist and carpenter known for his elaborate, celebratory coffin designs. Our culture’s handling of death is quite different, but perhaps we can learn from this accepting attitude towards mortality so that we can celebrate life fully.

Photo by Nam Chi Van

Anthony Ausgang

Camille Rose Garcia

Crystal Wagner

David M. Cook

Denis Babin


Casey Weldon

Isabel Samaras

Jenny Cotterill

Laurie Lee Brom

Michael Hsiung

Redd Walitzki

Scott Fuller

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