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Art Opening: No Country for Old Tippi

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Release Date: 2010-11-03

A little over a year ago, Chris McKnight quit his job and took up roaming the country, coast to coast, city to desert, often by train, accompanied by Tippi Hedren. Not the actress, mind you: McKnight’s Tippi is a smallish lady, an aspirational figurine of man-made materials manufactured by Mattel. Fine, she’s a Barbie. But she’s a Barbie in Hedren’s Hitchcockian garb — a crisply tailored teal-gray suit, ladylike pumps, an updo, and bedeviled by several aggressive black birds fastened to her person. In No Country for Old Tippi, an exhibition of photographs at Three Walls curated by his friend Lyle Williams, McKnight’s portraits of Tippi in situ often pit this ladylike icon against various landscapes (in the case of this show, in far West Texas), and compositionally scale Tippi carefully so as not to, well, minimize her. The photos present an ontological continuance of The Birds’ Man-vs-Nature schema, while arguing for the immense power of the ladylike. “Tippi appreciates beauty,” McKnight says, simply. (Free, opening reception 6-8 pm Nov 4, 6-9pm Fri Nov 6, Three Walls Gallery, Blue Star, Bldg. B #106D, (210) 219-1562)

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