The Snake

Exploring “Guilty Pleasures” at 111 Minna Gallery: A Journey into Unexpected Delights

A recent article from KQED highlighted an intriguing exhibition titled “Guilty Pleasures” at 111 Minna Gallery, offering a captivating exploration of hidden indulgences and unexpected juxtapositions. Picture stepping into a space curated by seven talented women, all focused on delving into guilty feminine pleasures, only to be greeted by an entire wall adorned with hyper-masculine WWF wrestlers. That’s the delightful surprise awaiting visitors at 111 Minna Gallery.

The standout artist of this unique showcase is Nicole Hayden, whose vibrant portraits of ’80s wrestling stars like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and The Iron Sheik pulsate with energy and bravado. Hayden’s work not only captures the physicality of these iconic figures but also challenges viewers to reconsider the narratives surrounding them. It’s a bold statement within a collection curated by Amandalynn and Emily Fromm, showcasing the diverse perspectives of Bay Area artists.

Among the array of artworks featured in “Guilty Pleasures,” Amandalynn’s contributions shine for their fusion of sensuality and natural beauty. Known for injecting beauty into urban environments through large-scale murals, Amandalynn’s pieces in this exhibition lean more towards pleasure than guilt, celebrating powerful women and delicate imagery inspired by the natural world. One particularly striking piece, “Something About a Sundae,” merges girly delights with a playful twist, offering viewers a guilt-free visual treat.

However, not all artworks in the exhibition shy away from exploring the complexities of guilt and pleasure. Messy Beck’s cubist-inspired paintings delve into unfiltered expressions of sexual desire, creating a tension that is both discomfiting and mesmerizing. The juxtaposition of pleasure and guilt in Beck’s work adds a layer of depth to the overall narrative of the exhibition, inviting viewers to wrestle with their own perceptions and experiences.

Fromm’s focus on the sleazy allure of cheap motels adds a gritty yet fascinating dimension to “Guilty Pleasures.” Her colorful renditions of Bay Area landmarks take a turn towards the unexpected, immortalizing the unique charm of these often overlooked establishments.

The exhibition also features captivating works by Michelle Nguyen, Mollie Johnson, and Sadie Greyduck, each offering their distinct interpretations of guilty pleasures through smutty signage, knitted delights, and curious talismans, respectively.

In conclusion, “Guilty Pleasures” at 111 Minna Gallery is not just an art exhibition; it’s a journey into the unexpected, a celebration of diverse perspectives, and an invitation to embrace the complexities of guilt and pleasure. Whether you’re drawn to Hayden’s indulgent wrestlers, Amandalynn’s sensual depictions, or Beck’s thought-provoking cubist pieces, there’s something in this showcase that will resonate with every art enthusiast and curious mind.

Read the article here.

See the show:
Guilty Pleasures