The Mushroom Show
THE MUSHROOM SHOW was initially organized by Letha Wilson and Dan Gratz in Letha’s upstate New York studio in the summer of 2018, and like a mushroom, it was only up for a few days. Bringing a version of the show back to New York City, where many of the artists in the show live and work, was natural enough. It’s also significant that this particular iteration of The Mushroom Show is at Sardine, an artist-run space and focal point for connectivity. Coincidentally, Sardine celebrates 8 years in existence this month.
Artists and fungi both have extensive unseen networks, and both change and enhance their surroundings in ways that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. Mycelium, the root-like vegetative structure beneath mushrooms, has been called a “natural internet,” where fungi and other plants can communicate by sharing nutrients or information. The artists in THE MUSHROOM SHOW are similarly connected through their own network, sharing ideas and energy. Sometimes the connections between artists are direct, but perhaps more often these connections occur on a nearly imperceptible level and have many paths.
Connectivity goes hand in hand with what might be the most important quality of THE MUSHROOM SHOW: its openness. In this show the theme is approached from many perspectives, by artists from a wide range of ages and backgrounds working across different mediums. There are paintings, photographs and sculptures of mushrooms in a literal sense, cartoon mushrooms, mushroom clouds, references to fungi in general, networks that reference mycelia, and of course psychedelic mushrooms and imagery alluding to experiences that transcend conventional reality. Perhaps the fact that almost any kind of art in any medium could have been included hints at a deeper relationship that humans, and artists in particular, have to the mushroom.