Mike Murdock: Fun Is Dead | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Mike Murdock: Fun Is Dead 

Through July 14

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Mike Murdock’s art holds a funhouse mirror to popular culture, but the raw materials from which he fashions it come from the heart of that mundane world, the streets and alleys that are its pulmonary pathways. Under the hand that guides his paintbrush, these discarded signs, severely abused skateboards and even the wall of NoBrow Coffee take a detour into some kind of carnival country in which laughter is the native language.

The sign “Unlawful to Commit Lewd Acts in a Public Area” (detail shown above) is overridden with cartoon monsters, as though they were evidence of the result of disregarding the warning. A long row of skateboards exclaims “Brine Shrimpn’” as though it was either some kind of product or sporting activity to be extolled, in text much too whimsical for the actual harvesting of the creatures from their odorific waters. A longtime skater, 26-year old Murdock explains, “I’m influenced by old skateboard graphics, although these boards are so beat up, they might not be usable.”

But that’s OK, because they are enjoying a second life. With as much enthusiasm as they felt riding the pipe, they bear inscriptions like “I heart the monster hero” and “More cake, less frosting.” On opening Gallery Stroll night, if you started here and went along Broadway, it was like getting dessert first. Emerging from this show, given so much to grin about, you might well exclaim, “Fun is dead? Long live fun!”

Mike Murdock: Fun Is Dead @ NoBrow Coffee, 315 E. Broadway, 801-364-3448, through July 14

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