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|Type||Performing arts collective|
|Focus||Performance and visual arts|
|Origins||Lower East Side, New York, New York|
|New York, New York|
Gargoyle Mechanique was originally the name of a group of collaborating art inventors (Steve Jones, Doug "Bert' Kennedy, Matt Crowe, David Landazuri and brother Roberto Landazuri were the principals) in San Francisco in the late 1970s, and later to be the name of an inter-media art space and theater, music, radio, sculpture, art and film collective serially located at various basements and storefronts in New York City's East Village through the 80's into the 1990s.
1980-1988. The Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory was located initially at Second Ave and 4th st. where musician Steve Jones had moved after leaving San Francisco, but by 1982 had established itself at 69 First Ave in the East Village and was known locally as "The Basement". Principal artistic collaborators: Jones, Jeanne Liotta, Nick Markovich, Carmen Waldorf. Among the creative activities produced during this early fertile period was the Studio Verite Recording studio (6.66 /hr),the kabuki rock n roll band Door of Wigs (Jones, cassette tapes/Chevy guitar, Markovich, vocals, Liotta, percussion/vocals, Carlo Altomare, keyboards, rotating bass players) playing venues of the period such as the Mudd Club, CBGB's, and The Gas Station. Production of Super 8 films/performances, such as Camptown Races and radio plays such as House of Dogs written by Markovich after Stendhal, Shelley, and Artaud, recorded by Jones and featuring Waldorf and Liotta. House of Dogs was excerpted on the Telus audio cassette magazine #11 "The Sound of Radio" and was performed live with food music projections and actors at East Village club 8BC in 1984. This same year Liotta and Jones gave birth to daughter Chloe Liotta-Jones. Her 3rd birthday party at Gargoyle Mechanique's backyard alley was captured in Super8 sound by Markovich and is preserved for posterity on The Center for Home Movies (Living Room Cinema). Markovich also wrote the play CAKE, a cosmic comedy starring Waldorf, Liotta, and Ed Snyder with slide projections by Liotta and original tape score by Jones, and was performed at the New York Theatre Asylum on E. 9th st run by Raquel Shapira and Tri Garrity. Gargoyle Mechanique had a retrospective of this period of music,film, performance, and projected photoglyphs "from the beautiful to the backwards" at the Collective for Living Cinema on White St in NYC in 1987.
From 1989-1993, in NYC, the Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory was located at 28 Ave B. The thriving art space brought together, and was run by a group of artists, filmmakers and musicians, including Tim Sweet, Loyan Beausoleil, Beth Grim, Kit Krash, Sheila Smyth, Fly, Zero Boy, and Bulk Foodveyor, though led by Steve Jones (now Jones Daughs).
The September 16, 1992, New York Press 'Best of' issue, named The Gargoyle Mechanique as the "Best 70's Performance Gallery," calling it, "not quite communist, it's not quite socialist, and it might be but it might not be exactly communal, and the only thing that stops it from being anarchist is that they have to pay rent." Harold Goldberg described the Gargoyle in his 1990 Village Voice article, "We shudder at the fiery blood-red walls, the Addams Family furniture, the phantom performers in the smoky half-light, the hooks, webs, and weeds hanging from the ceiling of this 400-square-foot (37 m2) cabaret space. The Gargoyle is pure horror out of control." But in the same article it quotes Gargoyle co-directors describing the purpose of the space, "We like to stimulate brains," grins Steve (Jones). "The entire body!" corrects Loyann (Beausoleil).
A Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory brochure from 1992 lists various artists and events that took place in the 28 Ave B space, including the Sunday Night Open Stage, which began after the Sunday night open mic at ABC No Rio stopped taking place. Produced by this group of diverse artist collaborators, the weekly event set an unusually high bar for live entertainment production values of an Open Mic event, with ever-changing stage designs, lighting, projections, sound-scape and audio effects, always with the goal of supporting and expanding performers' intentions. Many well known East Village performers, including Roger Manning, Fly (artist), Lach, Paleface, John S. Hall, and Brenda Kahn were regulars at this Sunday night event. Internationally known artists, sculptors, poets, musicians and inspired thinkers have also shared their expressions in GMLab, from Allen Ginsberg to Jivamukti Yoga founders David Life and Sharon Gannon to Timothy Leary to John Perry Barlow of the Grateful Dead and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. According to an article in the New York Post, John F. Kennedy, Jr and Daryl Hannah also visited the space. All in all, hundreds of artists from around the country and the world shared their expression at Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory, though music, theater, installation art, exhibitions, group shows, intermedia, computer-based works, and early online media.
The name Gargoyle Mechanique was partly inspired by a museum of antique mechanical toys and contraptions on the pacific coast of San Francisco named Le Musee Mecanique. The name Gargoyle Mechanique was devised in 1978 by the team in San Francisco, originally for the purpose of sending a set of gifts to another local San Franciscan arts group, Ralph Records and The Residents, and the group felt they needed an identifying moniker to do so.
Original S.F. member, artist Douglas Bert Kennedy created the first logo of the shield emblazoned with the goats head. After Steve Jones Daughs had established the Gargoyle Mechanique project and identity in New York, Kennedy redesigned the logo into the bug-like-tribal-mask image. Eventually Jones altered that design, placing it inside a gear, to create what is most widely remembered as the Gargoyle Mechanique logo image.
The initial San Francisco collective, located in an old Victorian-era house at the intersection of 14th Street and Eureka, a few blocks from Castro and Market, included sculptor/poet/illustrator Douglas Bert Kennedy, electronic music composer Matthew Myrle Crowe, experimental musician Steve Jones Daughs, poet musician David Davo Landazuri. In various collaboration with others and themselves, the group made music, sculpture and writings all at once.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Moynihan, Colin (October 12, 2003). "East Village Journal; Baying at the Moon . . . Reverently".
- The New York Press September 16–22, 1992, p. 106
- Nights of the Living Dead Village Voice By Harold Goldberg, October 30 - November 6, 1990
- Brochure "The Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory: Even if You Turn" Published by Gargoyle Mechanique Laboratory, 1992 edition