When Taylor Boylston was working on setting up the next art show for her backyard gallery, The Inca House, she went straight for her favorite artists. "I just had an idea and sent an e-mail and now we're having a Daniel Johnston," says Boylston straightforwardly.
But the exhibition comes with an understandable price tag: for each piece of Johnston's work that will be shown, a $100 deposit is needed. And since Boylston and her roommate and co-curator Chelsea Bashford run the gallery out of their home on nothing but love, this is proving to be a bit of a challenge. So Boylston has organized a benefit show this Sunday, September 29 at Rhinoceropolis, with local bands playing cover sets from Johnston's substantial discography to raise money for the art opening, slated for November 15.
It was Johnston who inspired the idea for the second show at Inca House, although Boylston never dreamed that the show would feature works by Johnston himself. "It's kind of crazy," she remembers. "I was hanging out with my friend Molly (Bounds, also an artist) and her car had just gotten broken into and she was really happy that nothing had gotten stolen, but was saying that there was nothing of value in her car anyways, except for a tape."
That tape was one of Daniel Johnston's famous cassette recordings.
"I got home and I couldn't stop thinking about Daniel Johnston. I thought, working in this little art space, I might as well just e-mail a bunch of artists I really admire and see what happens," says Boylston. "I sent out a bunch of e-mails and I sent one to Daniel's brother, Dick, as part of the big e-mailing. I didn't hear back from him for a couple of days and I thought, this is way out there, but you never know. Then the next morning I woke up and had an e-mail from him saying, yeah, sure we'd love to do a show."
Once the $2,000 deposit is raised, Boylston will get started curating the exhibition. She's been given access to all of Johnston's work, so the vision for this show at the Inca House will be very much hers. "It's really great but also really nerve-wracking," she says. "Daniel is one of my all-time heroes and (being able) to look through his giant catalogue of his art is really wonderful." And all of the pieces will be for sale.
For the fundraiser goes, Boylston initially reached out to musician friends she thought would be interested in playing Johnston's music -- and says she was surprised by how many were unfamiliar with his catalogue A simple post on Facebook helped her fill in the line-up, and more than a dozen acts will join in on the Sunday benefit and celebration. Boylston also hopes to screen the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston sometime before the November opening, to turn more people on to his music and art.
Boylston is also working to connect with corporate sponsors, too, in order to insure the refundable deposit and also fund a companion zine for the show; she's crossing her fingers that Johnston might be game for an interview in advance of this Denver show.
"You never know unless you ask," says Boylston. "I think a lot of people don't have the idea just to ask, or they think it's way out there. If no is the worst thing, you might as well try."
The fundraiser for the Daniel Johnston art show starts at 9 p.m. this Sunday at Rhinoceropolis. This all ages, donation-based show features sets from American Culture, Chase Ambler, Warren Bedell, Cop Circles, Tripp Nasty and more. For additional information, visit the event's Facebook page.
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