Jeffrey Vallance at CSUN Art Galleries

Jeffrey Vallance at CSUN Art Galleries

Blinky Exhumation Bone

Blinky Exhumation Bone, Jeffrey Vallance

Blinky the Friendly Hen was memorialized Saturday by Los Angeles performance artist and curator Jeffrey Vallance on the occasion of the artist’s walk through of the Cal State Northridge gallery exhibition “Blinky the Friendly Hen: 40th Anniversary Exhibition.”
Vallance, a 2004 Guggenheim fellow whose “Relics and Reliquaries” was exhibited at CSUF Grand Central Art Center in downtown Santa Ana in 2007, purchased Blinky the Friendly Hen in the frozen poultry section of a Ralphs supermarket on April 27, 1978, a year before graduating from Cal State Northridge. He then paid for and conducted a burial of the deceased bird at Los Angeles Pet Cemetery in Calabasas, complete with satin-lined coffin.
Ten years later, the departed chicken was exhumed and autopsied under the artist’s direction, giving rise to a collection of saint-like relics, the most precious of which are exhibited in a darkened inner sanctum, the Relic Chamber. The original paper receipt from Ralphs, though faded with time, is carefully framed. A replica of the heavy headstone sits behind glass. A few solitary bones are displayed in elaborately carved reliquaries. Alongside the true and verified relics are fabricated ones considered equally valid (because relics touched by relics can themselves become holy).
“As I can make endless relics,” the artist explains, “I do.”
Adjacent to the Relic Chamber is the Chapelle du Poulet, a gallery of chicken and egg-related religious iconography curated by the artist and including a painting by the late Thomas Kinkade, Painter of LightTM, alongside work that speaks to Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and other religious traditions. Every major religion has a chicken symbol, says the artist, ranging from Easter eggs to the Yom Kippur custom of Kapparot to Roman divination to the masks of animist African folk religions.
Still further adjacent is a group show including artwork created in homage to Blinky, including by students, faculty and such Los Angeles artists as Lisa Adams, Doug Harvey and Lynn Foulkes.
“Blinky the Friendly Hen: 40th Anniversary Exhibition” runs through March 16.

CSUN Art Galleries
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330

Jared Millar
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