Cody Critcheloe


The Hole is pleased to present BOY, an exhibition by Cody Critcheloe and his band SSION. The exhibition includes video, painting, drawing, and installation and will fea- ture special guests Peggy Noland and Jaimie Warren. The sum of these parts could be called “Kansas City Gone Wild”: these artists are all part of an exciting new energy coming from this city and we want to show New Yorkers this big mess in the Midwest!

Cody Critcheloe is the mad mustachioed front man and creative ringleader of SSION: a band pro- nounced SHUN like the word PERCUSSION and FASHION and EXPLOSION. SSION is a collaborative confluence of creative kids in Kansas City. This queer punk performance art band just came out with BOY, a feature length movie documenting Cody’s life as a small town punk kid addicted to junk food dreaming of stardom who becomes a glamorous pop star with the help and hindrance of a gaggle of crazy dames. Archly witty and abounding and self-aware parody and pop-cultural collage, this film composites various music videos Cody made for SSION songs from 2007-2009 and links them together with mockumentary interviews, tour footage and cultural critique. Shitty green screen and hand- made painted cardboard props abound, as do hot fags, hot dance moves, and smoking hot costumes by Peggy Noland.

Peggy! She is a fashion designer on the verge. Her outrageous spandex concoctions put her on the map a few years ago outfitting bands CSS and Tilly and the Wall; she once sent me some apple print scratch and sniff leggings that really smelled. She has a shop in Kansas City that she does a com- pletely different crazy fashion/sculpture installation every few months and she will be building a pop up shop for the show.

I met Peggy a couple of years ago through Jaimie Warren, or “Madonna” in the SSION movie: she takes self-portraits looking and being weird that cut right to the heart of being young and bored and making your own fun in America. She co-runs a TV and community development show called Whoop Dee Doo that is another organizing element in the Kansas City creative community that includes Peggy and Cody and a whole lot more.

Cody will be installing his exhibition like a sweet hangout zone and video lounge. Peggy will have a fashion boutique in the front and Jaimie will have a photo installation in the showroom. SSION will do a one-night blowout performance in September and Peggy will present her new spring sportswear during Fashion Week. Stay tuned for details!


Cody Critcheloe–SSION “BOY”


Javier Peres is very pleased to present “BOY”, the first Los Angeles solo exhibition by Cody Critcheloe – SSION (B. Kentucky USA. Lives and work in Kansas City, MO). “BOY” brings together nine separately shot but jointly conceived music videos for SSION’s 2007 record Fool’s Gold.

First things first! It’s SSION, pronounced “shun,” as in mission, fission, ambition-all apt words to describe the gesamtkunstwerk that is Cody Critcheloe and the queer punk/performance/art band he invented ten years back as a high school student in Lewisport, Kentucky. In the time since then, SSION has released 4 full-length records, toured extensively through the United States, and enjoyed cult status among fans and music writers who have lauded Critcheloe as everything from Out magazine’s Hottest Artist of the Year to “Prince’s love child” to the “one true master” of “high-concept sleaze pop.” Critcheloe’s songs are catchy, not abstract, and his visuals and live shows are crafted to appeal to more than an art-going crowd. SSION could easily cross over to become a pop phenomenon-a potentiality (or prophecy) which, in a stroke of self-reflexive genius, Critcheloe has already written into the narrative arc of his work to date. The story of SSION is a raucous, louched up, camp parody of Critcheloe’s own life, in which a small-town punk kid hooked on doughnuts and pizza follows his dreams with razor focus to emerge as a svelte, smoky-eyed pop star embraced by adoring crowds. And here, it seems, is the catch. While the annals of art and film give us plenty of examples to draw on for theorizing the artist’s alter ego, the image-obsessed dandy, the high-camp auteur, and the concept band, the discourse is less prescribed for an artist and musician who straddles all of these genres while aspiring to create work that actually is pop in the broadest and most populist sense of the word.

SSION’s first feature-length film, BOY, affords a fresh opportunity to consider the band’s work in the context of popular media and within the discourses of contemporary art. To situate the work this way is to necessarily highlight a degree of fluidity, criticality and complexity in the work that far exceeds the typical coming-of-age movie or arena concert experience.

— Stacy Switzer, Artistic Director, Grand Arts, Kansas City, Mo., 2009

Peres Projects