Nothing Cheezy is not the Museum of Pizza. While the new installation at Think Tank Gallery does offer pizza-inspired environments to explore and photograph, it eschews the sweet, pink Museum of Ice Cream look in favor of DIY art and greasy 1990s teenage dirtbag vibes.
Rooms in the gallery were turned over to 12 different artists, who each bring their own take on the throwback theme. One corridor features a towering construction of pre-flat-screen-era televisions, flickering with loops of chopped up ’90s animation, advertisements, and test sequences. A faux teen “bedroom” includes a functional retro video game console set up on the floor, doodles on the walls, and a pile of used pizza boxes heaped in the corner. In each space, the nostalgia is palpable.
The project was developed by two streetwear brands, Pizzaboyzzz and Future Fantasy Delight by Nico Salazar, who invited in friends and collaborators including Cheap Slasher Films, Nina Palomba, Berk Visual, and balloon artist Balloonski. Oh, and there’s a giant Godzilla-like monster destroying a Little Tokyo made of pizza boxes. And mini golf. And actual pizza from local restaurants.
Below the fun, colorful surface, Nothing Cheezy also has something to say about the trend of “immersive experiences” that have boomed in recent years. Think Tank gallery even claims to have hosted one of the first, a cake-themed art show called Break Bread, before the concept caught the attention of corporate marketers and entrepreneurs capitalizing on a generation’s collective anxiety about producing content. Throughout what Nothing Cheezy calls a “self-aware selfie tour,” the lighting is harsh and strange, the art feels raw and handmade, and there are even moments, like Isa Beniston’s interactive installation, which are designed intentionally to create genuine–and unphotographable–surprise.
Nothing Cheezy runs through August 25 at Think Tank Gallery, 516 E. 4th St., downtown. Tickets are released each week on the show’s website.
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