My good friend Ross Richie often says that the most awesome toy ever invented is a monkey with a backpack. Meaning that to a child, a monkey with a backpack action figure could offer an endless array of scenarios. The monkey could be heading to work, he could be going to school, or it could be a parachute, was he in the army? Or maybe it was a jetpack. The point of all of that is that the simplest item can inspire so many different ideas.
Earlier today, hat very idea was on full display at Gallery 1988 TOYS! exhibit. Originally, I thought that this was going to be a show celebrating the history of Hot Wheels or whatever but it turned out to be a "celebration" of the type of games and toys I had when I was a kid, not just Hot Wheels exclusively. The "pre-video game era" they called it.
Now, there was some really interesting stuff there, like Ben Walker's Gumby vs. The Robots and Danielle Rizzolo's The Confederate Armed 'HMS PLAYMOBIL' Engaged in Enemy Attack, Flying the Confederate Ensign and there was some stuff that I personally didn't enjoy all that much. Like gay biker My Little Pony. WHAT. Still, it was a pretty awesome show. It was cool to be reminded of toys that I hadn't thought about in years. Hungry Hungry Hippos, anyone? How about Madballs?
I really enjoyed Johnny Crap's Kickin' It Old Skool, mostly because I had one of those popcorn machines when I was a kid. It was my favorite toy, I loved that stupid thing. But my favorite piece was Keith Noordzy's Norm's One of the Little People. Very cool. A friend of mine said that Camilla D'Errico's Glow Friends was the best piece there but she's wrong. That one was just plain creepy.
I think the people working at Gallery 1988 got a little pissed because I was taking pictures of the art but fuck 'em. Besides myself, there was exactly zero other people attending the showing. At least when I was there. TOYS! at Gallery 1988 runs through April 25, 2008. Go check it out. It's free, cheap asses.