AUG 11 – AUG 22, 2014


if an underground, hardcore indie art gallery could be like . . a country store, MUDDGUTS did certainly give that impression, this hot summer day.
since this was my first foray over here – I had no idea . . just what lay beyond the door.


the first thing that struck me was how casually – the small front alcove had been transformed into a lively kind of office . . for the artist.

I had to ask because never having been there before I wasn’t sure, maybe it was the gallery front office ?
but no, PATRICK told me it was part of his exhibit and he had made everything, and set up all the photos on the wall, etc. etc. and yes, he had made the boom box, and turns out, maybe more to the point – the small white clay bell – to the right, next to the handle.

PATRICK McCARTHY, ‘PIGEON SHOP STEREO’, mixed media “we out here”. ($!,000)
it lit up, it had a great vintage cowboy vignette, like it came off a retro lunchbox or thermos – and it said: “we out here”. (!!)
I bet it plays, too.
it was too pricey for my pocket. but boy, did I covet it.

PATRICK McCARTHY, ‘BAMBOO CAGE’, mixed media. ($5,000)

the Muddguts gallery had been turned into a gallery/store/club. the space is on the small side, all the better to know ya, give me artist-indie vs big box galleries any day.

you know a typical New York City bodega kind of storefront, and it seemed clear the minute you entered, some kind of magic, and some kind of pigeon grocery store – were married, and happily . . at foot.
in a sentence: a serious pigeon fan club offering solid pigeon breeding info, and some pretty zen-like handmade art – along with sacks of bird feed & industry zines.

this beautiful oriental wind chime of a coop – being one of the hand-made items on offer.
super loved the faux jade, but still . . luminous, green roof !!
so thin and papery.
looks to be configured – from an oriental parasol.
now that’s light-handed sensual fabrication, if I ever did see one.

it was also quite functional – not just a fantasy facsimile, witness the resident guest of honor . . .
what a beautiful pigeon, more like a dancer – not your average dirty scruffy street thug.

and so the story begins . .
turns out Patrick fancies and raises a breed called . . Polish Roller, nice name. pretty bird.
this is a Polish Roller male.
Patrick started out with 4, and now he has almost a hundred, or maybe it’s . . a hundred and counting !!

not knowing much about Pigeons, except for DUKE RILEY’S last (Nov 2014) show of a tough ocean-flying Cuban cigar-smuggling camera bearing pigeon crew . . I had to ask, did he know the Duke ?
turns out the Duke had just recently sold that huge showboat of an almost candy-colored wooden fable gypsy-like caravan coop he had made & exhibited in that show, “See You at the Finish Line” – it was called.
it just went to some big, or smart, probably both (!!) collector in Europe, for a dollar figure in the 6 digits. surprise, surprise, not.
that was 3 months ago, and since their home was now gone, sold as an art piece !! talk about artist-born gentrification !!
and turns out, Duke has been boarding the now homeless 30 or so member-strong sea-worthy feathered crew at . . BABYLON COOPS, with PATRICK !!
guess it’s a small world, in pigeon circles !!
I wonder what the rates are for pigeon coop rental ?
what’s worse I wonder if Duke even cares for them anymore, now that their 5 mins of fame – is up.
surprise surprise, somehow, I doubt it.
just a gut feeling. but somehow somewhere, I’m thinking gentle Patrick has 30 more tough ole birds to feed, and keep clean. and they are not even his – style !!

because Pat also brought to my attention that the sturdy birds that Duke had set to ocean crossing flight, smuggling cigars back to Miami from Cuba . . . in mini mini hand-sewn backpacks & hooked up with 24/7 mini cams . . were a really sturdy breed & looked like boxers. while Patrick’s in-house team was more graceful, more like dandies. I liked that contrast.

it was kind of like the contrast between Duke and Pat. one a showboat muscle, the other a graceful acrobat. all good esp in the yin-yang polarities, as far as I’m concerned. anyways, it’s not about one or the other – it’s all good, meaning beauty . . lies in the shades of gray.
between the ranges of expression = art.

PATRICK McCARTHY, ‘BABYLON NEON’, wire, steel, flamingo lights. ($1,400)
PATRICK McCARTHY, ‘Photoboard’, each – digital c-prints on cork board, the one on the left is framed. ($1,000 ea.)

luckily there were 2 photo collages on the opposite wall, providing a clear visual map to further my pigeon know-how: re: etiquette, the care of, and breeding.

and you know what, with the way this summer has been going, it was nice to fall into a world of pigeon devotion, if only for day. like a swim in a lake, without a care in the world, except for the cost of pigeon feed.
PAT’S PIGEON CLUB – had very gentle vibes.
the other side of the coin.

so turns out Brooklyn had quite the pigeon breeding culture, which still, though barely, lives on.
it’s fate lies in the hands of the next generation, because apparently 9 or 10 years old is the age when you typically get the bug, and you know . . first 4, then a hundred.

a pigeon landscaped roof-top garden, probably Patrick’s . .

Babylon Pigeon Coop seems to be quite rustic, and yet somehow . . romantic.
visionary. poetic.
too on the down-low – to be termed artisanal, and I’m thinking . . that’s a good thing !!
but wait . . til you see the pottery.

inside the Babylon coops – the ‘high-rise’ ceramic perches – fashioned by Patrick himself.
now that’s what I call . . artisanal.

a vertical row of them was for sale in the gallery.
PATRICK McCARTHY, ‘V PERCH HIGH RISE’, porcelain, hardware, wood plank. ($1,500)

so zen.
esp for porcelain. esp if you know the history of MEISSEN porcelain ?!!
apparently this almost all-white zen glaze . . is very colorful to the pigeons, because they have ‘pentachromatic’ sight and so they know which one is theirs.
essentially if humans can see 1 million hues, pigeons can see 10 billion.
range of vision and perception of minute color codes – is apparently essential to safe flight.

the ‘v’ shape helps keep the fellow pigeon under your perch, free of your pigeon poop. it acts like a roof and perch all rolled up into one – which lets the poop roll down to the floor, the better for the coop keeper to scoop it up.

PATRICK also fashions clay breeding or nesting bowls for his brood – the birds bring in their own organic adornments.

PATRICK McCARTY, ‘NEST BOWLS’, issue 3. porcelain. ($1,200 for the set)

when Babylon Coops runs out of proper nest bowls, Patrick gives them an ole sneaker . . seems to do the trick.

PATRICK McCARTHY, ‘BRONZED NEST SHOE’, converse sneaker, feathers, hay, epoxy resin, paint. ($2,000)