2023 Exhibition Archives

DEVO 5-0: The Beginning was the End
A Fiftieth Anniversary Tribute to The De-Evolution Band

August 28, 2023 – December 9, 2023

Florida Southwestern State College is proud to announce “DEVO 5-0: The Beginning was the End – A Fiftieth Anniversary Tribute to The De-Evolution Band” at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery from August 28th through December 9th, 2023.

The first-ever expansive and career-spanning museum survey of the group that David Bowie once dubbed “The Band of the Future,” this immersive and multimedia installation presents stage-worn costumes, screen-featured props, tour-used instruments and artifacts, as well as, never-before-seen handwritten lyrics (including “Whip It”, “Girl U Want” and “Be Stiff”), concert flyers, posters, Club Devo memorabilia, product prototypes and album concept art.  Deeply mining the archives of former bandmembers, close associates/collaborators, longtime friends and fans, this is the most comprehensive consideration of one of the most influential (yet still underrated) bands in the history of Rock n’ Roll.

Following the success of DEVO frontman Mark Mothersbaugh’s “Postcards for Democracy” exhibition (with collaborator Beatie Wolfe) in 2021, the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW hosted DEVO director Chuck Statler (“The Godfather of Music Video”) in February 2023 as he world-premiered a program of newly-restored music video and pre-MTV films as an anticipatory “DEVO 5-0” kick-off event. As Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW Director and co-author of two definitive books on the band [“We Are DEVO!” (SAF Publishing Ltd./UK, 2003/2008) and “The Beginning was the End: DEVO in Ohio” (The University of Akron Press, 2023)], Jade Dellinger contends, “Mingling kitsch and deadpan Dada-inspired humor with a cuttingly satirical social commentary, DEVO were widely recognized at the time for their 1980 hit ‘Whip It’, but are now (at long-last) acknowledged for their trailblazing creativity, unapologetic challenging of societal norms and pioneering legacy of defying convention through the merging of music and visual art.”

With the tragedy of the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings as a catalyst, this collective of student-survivors and creative misfits drew inspiration from their industrial Northeast Ohio environ, proposed the novel idea that instead of continuing to evolve – humankind had actually begun to regress, formed a musical kinship, and then channeled their ideas and protopunk energy into a sprawling, multifaceted art project. Disillusioned by all they had witnessed and observed, their philosophical stance and resulting creative production was a bold commentary on corruption and inequity in the United States, the commodification of a society in evident decline, and the perceived ‘dumbing down’ of an entire generation by mass media. Debuting at the 1973 K.S.U. Creative Arts Festival as the “Sextet Devo,” The De-Evolution Band (or “DEVO” for short) continues to be relevant even now – five decades later – inspiring new generations to think critically, embrace individuality, and to push boundaries.

“DEVO 5-0: The Beginning was the End – A Fiftieth Anniversary Tribute to The De-Evolution Band” at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery is a testament to the band’s enduring legacy and the indelible mark that DEVO has left on popular culture through their distinctive fusion of music, art, and social commentary. Now it can be told, seen and experienced.

Additional announcements will follow in coming weeks and months as lectures, performances and special events are confirmed in conjunction with the exhibition.

WHIP IT! – In the 239 – Naples Daily News – September 15, 2023

WHIP IT GOOD – Gulf Coasting – The News-Press – September 15, 2023

Are We Not 50? – Fort Myers Magazine – October – November 2023

We Are DEVO! – Metropolitan 25A Magazine – December, 2023

A Video Project/Game Initiated by Chip Lord, Jack Massing & Sean Miller

August 22, 2022 – July 22, 2023

Florida Southwestern State College is pleased to present “The Exquisite Moving Corpse” a video installation featuring more than sixty internationally-renown artists at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. Each making one-minute “movies” in response to a still from the previous artist’s digital short, this collective art film includes video segments by Chip Lord, Jack Massing, Sean Miller, Nina Katchadourian, Kristin Lucas, William Wegman, Tony Oursler, Mel Chin, Muntadas, Hasan Elahi, Mark Dion and many others. “The Exquisite Moving Corpse” installation temporarily transforms the exhibit space into a screening room with this feature length moving-picture – inspired by a nearly century-old Surrealist artists’ pastime/amusement – looping continually during regular Gallery hours from August 22nd through July 22, 2023.

The original Surrealist “exquisite corpse” was a café parlor game invented in 1925 by André Breton, Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert and Marcel Duhamel in Paris. The French name “cadavre exquis” was derived from the phrase that resulted when first played, “le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau” (“the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine”). Adapted from a “word game” with players adding text to a sheet of paper that was then folded to conceal additions before being passed to the next contributor, the Surrealists soon began to apply this practice to drawings of the human figure. Taking turns in sketching – head, torso, legs and feet – independently, fantastic “creatures” were often revealed as the corpse was unfolded.

According to the artist organizers, “The Exquisite Moving Corpse” was created and compiled over a two-year period beginning in March 2020. Most of the footage was shot, shared and edited while participants worked in pandemic-related quarantine. Chip Lord, Jack Massing and Sean Miller initiated the game – making the first three minutes – then handed it off to an evolving list of invited collaborators in what they describe as an artist chain letter. And, just following a recent premiere installation at the Archivio Emily Harvey art space (curated by Bob Rauschenberg Gallery director Jade Dellinger) during la Biennale in Venice, Italy last month, FSW is delighted to be among the first U.S. venues to unveil and present “The Exquisite Moving Corpse” in a gallery setting.

The complete list of participating artists in order of appearance in “The Exquisite Moving Corpse” is as follows:

Chip Lord, 2. Jack Massing, 3. Sean Miller, 4. Chiaozza, 5. Phillip Pyle II, 6. Kara Hearn, 7. Sergio Vega, 8. Ken Friedman, 9. William Wegman, 10. Bryan Konefsky, 11. Albert Chong, 12. Robert Hodge, 13. Chris Sollars, 14. Mary Mattingly, 15. Natali Leduc, 16. Gustavo Vazquez, 17. Tea Mäkipää, 18. Mel Chin, 19. Sarah Aziz, 20. Hasan Elahi, 21. Hillerbrand+Magsamen, 22. Leyla & Mike Mandel, 23. Kristin Lucas, 24. Ali and Aoife, 25. Shane Mecklenburger, 26. Oliver Herring, 27. Bibbe Hansen, 28. Fereshteh Toosi, 29. Craig Smith, 30A. Tom Marioni, 30B. Severn Eaton, 31. Pinar Yoldas, 32. Adebukola Bodunrin, 33. James Benning, 34. Chris Beaver, 35. Connie Hwang, 36. Chris Felver, 37. Theadora Walsh, 38. Cyriaco Lopes and Terri Witek, 39. Jason Simon, 40. Isabelle Carbonell, 41. Aisling O’Beirn, 42. Mark Seliger, 43. Elia Vargas, 44. Leah Floyd + Cristina Molina, 45. José Hernández Sánchez, 46. John Sanborn, 47. Dana Sherwood, 48. Pecos Hank, 49. Emiko Omori, 50. Mark Dion, 51. Jack Thompson, 52. Bart Weiss, 53. Rachel Mayeri, 54. Nina Katchadourian, 55. Larry Andrews, 56. Emmanuel Manu Opoku, 57. Tony Oursler, 58. Tony Labat, 59. Alyssa Taylor Wendt, 60. Muntadas

The Exquisite MOVING CORPSE – Fort Myers Florida Weekly