Best Gallery From The Dark Side - 1999
Boys shove girly magazines under the bed when parents come home, and adults lock up the porn videos when kids are underfoot. Galerie Macabre is a warehouse-size "under the bed," where you can gaze at morbid and erotic art without fear of judgment. Lady Vanessa runs the place, displaying the work of half a dozen artists, including herself, during each show. Last spring's "Eroticabre" -- featuring Vargas-like nudes, homoerotic images, and bas-relief phalluses -- drew a curious mix of suits and middle-aged motorcycle boys. The next show, "Gothik," packed the gallery with goth kids, who ambled among the morbid photos and paintings as a thunderstorm raged outside. But the place is best when it's quiet, when the shock of seeing genitalia on the walls gives way to closer inspection of the more complicated artwork, like Shannon English's dolls encased in glass jars sealed with beeswax (Nobody Likes a Crybaby); Hortt winner Tony Campagna's bloody, anatomically detailed canvases (Convict); and the politically charged erotic photos of Wes Carson (Patriotic Lovers). Lady V's motives? "I exhibit art that has no limitations, no boundaries," she says, "because I want to provide that freedom for the artist." While inside her gallery, the viewer is also free.