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In this exhibition Boots attempts to explore, analyze, and question what it means to be an artist, critic, and/or curator living and working in St. Louis. Is there a St. Louis aesthetic? Is there a collective movement, or are we a group of individuals? What are the issues our artists are dealing with? What mediums are conveying our themes and ideas? 

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Featuring work by: Brandon Anschultz • Robin Assner • Sarah Colby • Andrea Green • Ryan Hess • Jamie Kreher • Jason Wednesday Miller • Peter Pranschke • Bryan Reckamp • Tim Ridlen • Mike Schuh • stripper:pilot • Matthew Strauss • Brett Williams • Paul Zografakis

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Picture this (you’ll have to squint a little to get it right): 

It’s 3 am, the lights are coming on and you’re closing down a bar for the second time tonight. You and a group of you friends stumbling out on to sidewalk somewhere in the city, you’re laughing a bit too hard and you’re not ready to go home. One of your friends suggests you grab some food, and you realize you’re starving. So you cajole whoever’s done the best impression of a teetotaler into driving you and three or four of your nearest and dearest to the diner. You wander in and collectively flop into a booth, flipping through menus even though, let’s face it, you know what you want. The waitress comes over, drops a pitcher of water on the table and takes orders, scrawling them deftly on a pad while still managing to convey her complete and utter disdain. You don’t care, you’re talking with your friends, sitting in this booth, it’s loud and dingy and glaringly fluorescent and all of a sudden it’s so good. You’re with the people who know you so well that it’s effortless, your stomach hurts from laughing and you’re more relaxed than you’ve been all week. You’re smack-dab in the middle of an argument about whether hippopotamuses are deadlier than polar bears and, if so, should canoeing be considered an extreme sport, when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, it materializes, a plate clattering down hard on the table. 

It’s beautiful. It’s a hamburger patty topped with eggs, bundled up in oil-browned hash browns, smothered in chili, coated in grated cheddar and sprinkled with onions. Its rich, greasy aroma mingles with that of the hops on your breath as you inhale deeply, gazing in admiration as the cheese begins to take on a shiny stringiness as it melts. You pick up your fork and cobble together what remains of your mental powers, trying hard to spear a little bit of each part in every bite. Fork to mouth, fork to mouth and it’s gone before you know it, and only then do you raise your head and look around you. You know this place, you know these people and you know that glassy look of contentment in their eyes, because it’s the mirror image of your own. It’s St. Louis, it’s satisfaction and it’s sustenance—it’s the slinger.

by Katie Pelech 


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