Although Mark Flood has been getting press in rags like The New Yorker and Artforum for his hyper-colored lace paintings, his art wasn't always so dainty. A longtime underground Texas artist, Flood was known for grotesque collages of teen hunks, and most famously, a collaboration with Mel Chin called the GALA Committee. The GALA Committee's grandest coup was In the Name of the Place, which found Flood and company inserting subversive props onto the set of TV's Melrose Place. If you ever glimpsed a pregnant Courtney Thorne-Smith using a quilt promoting the morning-after pill RU-486, that was the work of the GALA Committee. Other objects that the artists smuggled onto primetime television included a set of sheets and pillowcases adorned with unrolled condoms, as well as paintings of the '90s Baghdad bombings. Fans of Flood's work were shocked when the artist seemingly turned his back on subversive conceptualism and started hitting the big time with colorful paintings of lace (which everyone admitted were pretty damn sweet). But now of all things, Mr. Subversive has been interviewed on camera by none other than Catherine Anspon.
Anspon is a well-published art writer who looks like she wandered into the scene on her way to a Junior League gathering. Perpetually bubbly, she's not always taken as seriously as her bookish colleagues. Her passion for art is undeniable, however, and one way she manifests it is with her videotaped visits to artist's studios. Her second outing finds her at Mark Flood's studio in Houston, and the resulting Quicktime video is perhaps one of the most brilliant clips I have ever witnessed. Anspon, sporting a snazzy straw hat, comes across like a local newscaster who doesn't get a second take when she stumbles over her lines. Unintentional hilarity comes to a screeching halt once inside Flood's studio. The painter seems more than eager to dispel murmurings that he has mellowed with success, enacting a short performance as a growling, poetry-spewing beast in a referee shirt who must be restrained as he snarls couplets about lace in a flat, Texas drawl. Anspon stands by, then thanks the contorting artist for having her over to visit, as viewers are left to wonder if they have just seen the best straight-man secret collaboration since Andy Kaufman took a piledriver from Jerry Lawler.