Good 'n' Plenty at the Last Chance Saloon
Good 'n' Plenty, the first UK exhibition of the work of Chris Cooper took place at the Last Chance Saloon between April 1st and June 30th 1999. Coop, most of you will know, is a US artist specialising in a hellish mix of devil girls, hot roddin' monsters and 20th century pop culture. Coop's work is instantly recognisable and has appeared in Answer Me!, the cover of Boyd Rice's Hatesville and one of his devil designs recently featured on the cover of Anton LaVey's Satan Speaks. This is the first time, however, Chris Cooper's work has been exhibited in the UK.
Unfortunately, we missed the personal appearance of Coop who was in London for only a couple of days to visit the exhibition. The show was held at London's new underground store, Last Chance Saloon. Any Londoners or anyone passing through should put this on their visiting list. Packed with clothes, underground books, art and magazines. There's a veritable cornucopia of goods to be found here including a cool range of Kozik, Coop, Ed "Big Daddy" Roth stickers, posters, t-shirts and even Zippo lighters. Books from Henry Rollins, William Burroughs, Stewart Home, and publishing houses like Creation, Feral House and Re/Search comprise the multitude of underground literature on sale here. In fact, the Last Chance Saloon have assembled the most extensive range of fringe culture items that I've seen. Check it out.
Coop's work was split over 2 levels. On the upper floor above the shop stock hung various artists proofs. These were mainly black and white pieces for works such as Organ Grinders Ball III and Coopstuf.Com. Selling for upwards of £1000 these Coop originals were unsurprisingly out of the price range of most visitors.
The main exhibition was occurring downstairs in the basement gallery. Rock posters for bands such as The Urinals and Electric Frankenstein, hung beside posters promoting SM events and art shows. It was as one of the prints declared "a presentation of sexist and morally bankrupt artwork." Since this basically meant voluptuous Devil Girls with cloven hooves were everywhere we considered this fine. Coop, it should be said, is an admirer of woman with the fuller figure, and these vivacious, busty babes have become his trademark. Hot Rods, another prime inhabitant of Coop's world, were less in evidence. Since we don't care too much for cars that was fine too. Also on display were some skateboards featuring Coop artwork. I was somewhat bemused to see a skateboard bearing The Official Coop Satanic Seal of approval. Skateboarding Satanists, whatever next? Then again, Coop is one of only a select few of appointed Church of Satan artists. Coop's rarer-than-rare recruitment poster for the Church of Satan was on sale for £195. With a cool sense of humour to match his aesthetic skills the work of Chris Cooper is not be missed.
I tip my hat to the staff at Last Chance Saloon for exhibiting Coop (and look below for details of future shows) and for providing the opportunity for us Brits to actually get to view these works first hand.
Visit Coop's website at: http://www.coopstuff.com/