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"Talk About A Live Wire"

. . . we thought the BOBO show would be good - but we hadn’t a clue - it was well, well, beyond the pale. and well well beyond the uptight conceptualist shows - the New York Times has been crowing about for summer offerings. It reminded us of that super great BLACK & WHITE show, ‘INFINITE FILL’, that CORY ARCHANGEL curated for FOXY PRODUCTION - a couple of summers back. just beats all the competition hands down. period.

This is a conceptual show that EXPLODES !! LIFTS OFF !! & FIGHTS BACK !!
BRAINS, BRAWN and VISUAL BEAUTY. what can I say - this is the one to see. it’s a DYNAMO !!

The opening was great. electric. crowded. fresh smart kids. a lot of friends from Philly came in. the artists in the show - it was like walking on a mountain range - just turning from one super dynamo to the next. non-stop. what do they put in that Philly water ? or, maybe these guys just aren’t drained by trying to stay alive in NYC. put it this way, a room, ok a small one - in a Philly ‘art’ house costs $175/month - the same comparable (small) room in a Brooklyn artist house, even in Bushwick, forget Williamsburg, costs $750+ a month. you live in Philly - it seems you got lots of free time to blow-it up and put it out. ..and it looks like, maybe even - take-over.

‘BOBO on 27TH ST’ - is also a show on wheels - that is, a show with great timing. It is actually the artworld equivalent of ‘Wall-E’ !! if you can think and dream - beyond WALK & TALK !!
except BOBO is PIXAR !! minus a couple of million zeros - in the budget.
. . . we’ll take the last lines from A.O. SCOTT’S film review of ‘Wall-E’, published in the New York Times WEEKEND ARTS of FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2008 - to start the dialog:
“The paradox at the heart of ‘Wall-E’ is that the drive to invent new things and improve the old ones - to buy and sell and make and collect - creates the potential for disaster and also the possible path away from it. Or, put another way, some of the same impulses that fill the world of ‘Wall-E’ - our world - with junk can also fill it with art.’ !!

here’s a couple of ‘teasers’ - photos from the opening - a whole !! photo report on the show - goes up next week !!

JULY 3 - AUGUST 1, 2008
note: summer hours … MON-FRI 11-6pm !! - Nancy Smith, Art Lovers New York

"Junk Rock"

At the exhibit "Bobo's on 27th," currently on view at Foxy Production in Chelsea, wall-text printed onto a section of the ceiling reads REINTERPRETATION PROHIBITED; easy to miss amidst the jumble of the show itself, the two words are only visible once you've entered the gallery, walked through most of it, and turned to face the doors. Despite the dire warning, the farrago of plastic and styrofoam floor trash, aggressively colorful, punk-ugly sculptures and monstrously expressionist paintings does indeed call for certain readings. At first, the debris seems real and accidental-- like you've stumbled into someone else's art-party a few hours after the beer ran out -- but on closer inspection, each piece of apparent garbage is revealed as its own carefully placed objet: crushed water bottles covered in painted foil or laser-printed labels, a handful of flyers for a (conceptually faux) Philadelphia technical college, a set of lightly abused Colonial-dress souvenir dolls, a cloud of color-coordinated plastic deli bags with their logos meticulously removed. The seeming collapse of a young collective's studio into the gallery ultimately reveals itself as careful artifice: theatrical props for the staging of an image of a 21st century bohemia-echo, a fake fiesta that actually took a lot of work and planning by more than a dozen individual artists. Desire the real thing, then? The show includes a live if buggy webcam feed from the parallel exhibit Bobo's on 9th, which runs concurrently at the art-band's home space in Philly -- but viewers are likely to spy Boboites in their native habitat doing nothing more riotous than checking email. The total effect is that not so much of a playroom but a set of a playroom: no wonder so much of the exhibit resembles a warped memory of a children's TV show, as seen in Barkev Gulesserian's giant golden Dog-buddha, Jesse Greenberg's toy-box-like "touchables" sculptures, and Bobo's own crudely built, push-button jukebox, which twitches, exhales and bubbles bongwater when a song is requested. The myth of the crazy young art-gang rubs off to reveal some industrious chums mixing labor and fun—and in the process, perfecting the mixture's recipe to allow for an effective blend of determined madness. - Ed Halter - Ed Halter, Rhizome

"Bobo’s on 9th Leaves Mark In Paint, Pigeon Droppings"

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in South Philly’s Italian Market, Phil Coty, 24, sits outside of his art gallery, Bobo’s on 9th, listening to the radio and writing “Aw, shucks!” on a piece of graphed notebook paper. Whenever anyone passes by, he looks up and hopefully asks, “Hey, you wanna see some art?”

Coty, a lean guy with shaggy, dark brown hair, the beginnings of a beard and assorted stains and rips on his white T-shirt and fitted black jeans, is the keeper of one of the city’s best – and most colorful – secrets, an ever-unconventional gallery that also serves as a venue for performance art and music. It’s an easy spot to miss from the road – hidden behind stacks of empty crates and barely marked, except for a spray-painted “Bobo’s on 9th” – but the art it houses is anything but forgettable.

“We got the space off of Craigslist,” Coty said. “It used to be a barber shop. We just wanted someplace where we could show our friends’ work.”

“We” refers to Coty and his friends, Nick Payne and Drew Gillespie, both 25. All three are graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, members of the “weird pop” band Bobo and owners and curators of Bobo’s on 9th, which they baptized with its first installation this past July. Seven more installations followed, along with parties, concerts, a couple of rather messy performances and a visit from the Secret Service.

“We made a whole 10-thousand dollars’ worth of counterfeit money and set up an office overflowing with money in our window display,” Coty said. “It all got confiscated. It’s really interesting having a window display for art because you can use the whole space, create a life-sized diorama of sorts. It really helps us get our ideas out on the street – literally.”

Currently showcased in the Bobo’s window display is a sleeping man, whose body is made from a windbreaker and ski pants stuffed with empty soda bottles, crushed beer cans and other recyclables. His feet are a pair of hiking boots and his bed is a pile of VHS tapes. Inside the gallery, a labyrinth of brightly painted walls takes visitors on a journey to another world – one much more socially and politically conscious than our own.

The word “ABORTIONS” is painted in red beneath a scene of a college dorm room with a bunk bed made from intestines. Sperm, peace signs, hamburgers and cassette tapes float in a surreal skyscape. A man lying on a black-and-white tiled floor has what looks like a giant snake wrapped around his midsection – a giant snake with an oversized human hand for a head.

Bits of poetry and Beatles lyrics – “All you need is love” – are interspersed with images of war and decay, naked women reading books, a glowing, Buddha-like dog and assorted American icons, from TV sets to “black power” fists. The exhibit has a mosaic feel to it, but at the same time, nothing seems random – even the most unusual juxtapositions of ideas somehow carry a sense of purpose.

The work is that of Providence, R.I.-based artist Barkev Gulesserian, a friend of Coty and Co. from RISD. Though Bobo’s on 9th has only featured installations by friends of the owners so far, Coty said that they hope to branch out and eventually show the work of others. Up next for the gallery is an exhibit at Foxy Production in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, which they plan to operate from their Philadelphia location, manning the lights and special effects through computers.

“Hopefully, the show in New York will bring us some attention from New York artists and some possible overlap, which is what we’re really looking for – an overlap of the Philly art scene and the New York scene,” Coty said.

As far as the Philly art scene is concerned, Coty said he thinks it’s much too commercially driven. At Bobo’s on 9th, art is shown for the sake of showing art – not for making money. The owners, who all work day jobs, help install and pay for each exhibit – just as long as the exhibit gives them something in return.

“We consider ourselves a sponge, and we consider every artist we showcase as some kind of organism that leaves a residue on our space,” Coty said. “The ceiling we have now, for instance, is from an earlier show. And there’s pigeon s— on the building. Our last show was about birds, and we had put out all this birdseed, and pigeons started living above our door and walking into the gallery and stuff like that.”

He smiled, thinking back on it. “And now they’re all gone, but the s— is still there. Isn’t that perfect?” - Anna Hyclak, Temple News

"Editors Picks: Precious Delights"

Any show that bills itself as "best described as a germed-up concept car interface, burnt and melting," then goes on to compare itself to "the corners of rooms where bits of dead skin rest, where the dust mites reside," is bound to kick ass. Tweaked-out mind-blowing whack, here we come. But at the Italian Market's Bobo's on 9th's, Phil Cot?, Nick Payne and Drew Gillespie have taken it seven or eight steps further, creating a mixed-media show of sculpture, video and paintings from some of the best artists on the Eastern seaboard and beyond. Just about everything in the gallery is art, right up to the over-large steel wool frames and the burlap sacks and faux advertisements littering the floor. And then of course there's the video link to Bobo's on 27th, Bobo's simultaneous partnership curation of a show in New York, which will feature a retrospective of the artists who have shown their work at Bobo's over the years. Extra points if you see only the local one, as participating artist Ryan Trecartin has created an exclusive Philly window installation piece especially for anyone scared to take the Bolt. (St. John Barned-Smith) - St. John Barned-Smith, Philadelphia Weekly

"Cashing In Needn't Be An Artistic Crime"

The city's new arts landscape ranges from provocative displays that worry federal authorities to a ceramics exhibit that appeals to sophisticated collectors.

On the scrappy end of that spectrum - Bobo's on 9th, an exhibit and performance space near the Italian Market. It opened in the summer, the love child of a group of artists from California, New England and New Orleans.

In the fall, they constructed a scene in the display window.

"It was an office," recalls Drew Gillespie, 25, one of Bobo's founders. "Next to the desk was a table with a copier that produced counterfeit bills. It looked like the room was filling up to the desk with the money."

Behind the desk was a chart showing profits skyrocketing. The currency, Gillespie says, was photocopied on only one side and obviously bogus.

"One day, a guy came up and said he was interested in buying it. We were supposed to meet up."

Instead, a troop of U.S. Secret Service agents visited Bobo's and confiscated the fake bills, Gillespie says.

"Luckily, they didn't charge us with anything," he says. "They just wanted to know our artistic intent."

The medium and message were much clearer to the crowd at last week's Second Thursday opening of Doug Herren's ceramics exhibit "Industria" at the 201 Gallery in the Crane Arts Building, just north of Northern Liberties.

Herren's sculptural pieces make abstract forms look like mysterious industrial objects. Rick Snyderman, one of the city's best-known art dealers and gallery owners, called them "top-notch."

Both the art and its display, Snyderman said, were "museum quality."

"I've asked the artist for a CD of his work," he said. "I'm going to send it to some of my clients."

Clients, he noted, who are used to spending lots of money on art.

- Melissa Dribben, Philadelphia Inquirer


Gunk (EP), 2007
Live at Warmdaddy's (Full Length), 2008
bobbysong (Full Length), 2009



The myspace page for Bobo is This website should give you a clear picture of who we are and what we do.

Bobo is an art and music group based in Philadelphia, Pa. The three members are Nick Payne, Phil Cote, and Drew Gillespie. Playing frequently throughout the Northeast since late 2006, Bobo is a part of a community of musicians and artists in tune with the acceleration and convergence of culture, information, science and technology. They have played shows with Bunny Brains, Lightning Bolt, To Live and Shave in LA, Ryan Trecartin, Kites, Temple of Bon Matin, Realicide, Dr. Doo, DJ Jazzy Jess, Dreamhouse, Harry Merry, Frank Sidebottom, Bird Names, Mirror Mirror, Dan Deacon. They have performed at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, the New York Underground Film Festival, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Yale University, and also headlined the Best Fest in Philadelphia.

In early 2007, they opened a performance / art exhibition space located in the Italian Market area of Philadelphia called Bobo's on 9th. The space would continuously alternate between being an art and music venue. One of the space's earliest window displays made by Bobo was confiscated by the Secret Service as described in an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer: " 'It was an office,' recalls Drew Gillespie, 25, one of Bobo's founders. 'Next to the desk was a table with a copier that produced counterfeit bills. It looked like the room was filling up to the desk with the money.' Behind the desk was a chart showing profits skyrocketing. The currency, Gillespie says, was photocopied on only one side and obviously bogus. 'One day, a guy came up and said he was interested in buying it. We were supposed to meet up.' (The man ended up being a undercover government agent) Instead, a troop of U.S. Secret Service agents visited Bobo's and confiscated the fake bills, Gillespie says. 'Luckily, they didn't charge us with anything,' he says."

Phases shifted for the band, eventually focusing into their music and going off in a stylistic direction in what could best be described as Gunktech. Their newer aesthetic portrayed Bobo as shady back alley culture, where the germy, burnt up concept car smolders in a puddle of gelatinous mop water. The band was particularly attracted to gunky clumps of dead skin curling up in the corners of rooms, where the dust mites reside.

Bobo’s music has been described as dynamic: having an elastic and sticky sonic range, instigating an object-interaction hybrid dance of the “East Coast Lindy Hop” and the “Peppermint Hula”.

Themes involve the interest in how the human mind is steadily cracking codes at the base of the natural internet, allowing humankind to successfully reconfigure it and the perceptions of what is possible at microbiotic and galactic levels. The earth is evolving into a throbbing brain and humans are developing a sixth sense with one another, merging seamlessly in with their technologies. Fully immersive information fields are being reflected back onto our physical environments. Bobo is interested in exposing technology as nature and nature as a fully moldable interface. The band’s lyrics involve ideas that employ current sci-political jargon about carbon credit bribery, wetware interfaces, nuclear bog / slug-ecosystems, grinding your teeth while you sleep, and hiding your gas bills in the snow.

In July of 2008, Bobo curated two group art exhibitions at once, one at Foxy Production in New York City and one at Bobo's on 9th. To completely blur the distinction between art and garbage, Bobo designed identity brand trash that was littered all over the floor of the NYC gallery. Both venues were designed to be a simulated membrane interface for the viewer, linked together by a live video feed, so that the members of Bobo could monitor both galleries at once from their headquarters in Philadelphia.

It was the last show for Bobo’s on 9th, closing for good in the fall of 2008. They went on to write and produce a fiction book entitled THE GOLDEN BOOK. Bobo continues on as a music and art company, recently recording a full-length album, bobbysong.