“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” ― Salvador Dalí
Baton Rouge Gallery hosted its ninth annual Surreal Salon Soireé on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Following the nation’s unprecedented (read: absurd) presidential inauguration, the Baton Rouge community was ready to support something that wasn’t fueled by corporate greed and political fuckery. And boy did they show up. The gallery and outdoor areas were jam packed with a diverse group of attendees—humans, animals, inanimate objects, concepts, et all. Is it truly an art exhibit if the guests themselves aren’t also part of the show? Whether you dressed in costume or not, one could enjoy the experience Baton Rouge Gallery had to offer. With visual works from 58 nation-wide pop-surrealist artists, interactive opportunities, a puppeteer, stellar performances from native musicians, and all the booze you could guzzle, not a single person should have left unimpressed…or sober.
Once checked in, guests had the option to explore the front outdoor area before entering the gallery itself. Here one could find a virtual reality game provided by Turbosquid, in which the player could create their own sculpture. Disorienting, a bit confusing, and requiring a waiver of liability, the game itself had a neat concept, but may have needed a better intro/demo for the players to get the most out of what it was offering. After a dizzying attempt at being a sculptor, one could then check out the delightful display of hand-made puppets by Clay Achee. Strategically positioned next to the photographer’s station, guests could even get their portraits taken with one of Achee’s charming creatures.
After Rockit Surgery’s Jamey Firnberg took your next profile pic, it was time to enter the gallery itself. Filled to the brim with surrealist visual artwork, the gallery held the bulk of the event’s offerings. Guests could peruse paintings, sculptures, prints, and more. Not only did many of the artists come from all corners of the Pelican state, there were also works by artists from 25 other US states. Rightly so, as local art galleries should be safe spaces for cultural diversity.
As we all know, art isn’t just about what you see. Formerly known as Twin Killers, the psych-rock ensemble, Moon Honey, traveled from Los Angeles to play a special show for their beloved hometown. Featuring tracks from their upcoming album, as well as old favorites from Hand-Painted Dream Photographs, the multi-colored light show and sonic sound spectacle had the walls—and our rumps—shaking.
Unfortunately, the gallery isn’t like a typical bar or event venue, and, thus, had to close its doors by the stroke of midnight. Before any pumpkins were made, guests scurried to grab their last calls and snap their final pics before heading to the official afterparty at Radio Bar. Surreal, sweaty, and psyched out, guests may have confused the regular Saturday night bar patrons, but were warmly welcomed to enjoy a nightcap.