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Chapelle de POULET


In 1978 artist Jeffrey Vallance bought a frozen fryer chicken at the Ralph’s Supermarket in Canoga Park, California. He later buried the chicken at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery after a brief memorial service. He also installed a grave marker for the frozen bird, naming her Blinky the Friendly Hen. This seriocomic artwork has taken the concept and processes of documentation to its most absurd conclusion. The piece became the quintessential conceptual artwork of the 1970s and Vallance’s straightforward approach offers a striking commentary on our society, the treatment of animals, spirituality and death. The year 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of Vallance’s Blinky project and, in celebration of this historic event, Vallance has released The Special 40th Anniversary Edition of the publication, Blinky (published in 2019 by California State University, Northridge Art Galleries) in conjunction with an exhibition at CSUN featuring a Blinky Chapel, Reliquary Chamber, Theatre, Poultry Gift Shop and “Free Range” a group show including over 80 international artists. Below, we’ve Vallance’s reflections on the sanctity of the chicken—a study of the chicken as a catechistic carrion vehicle for the serious study of spirituality in thirteen pieces.

Click through the titles to take the essay piece by piece

#1            ︎

Sacred chickensDinosaurs to the New TestamentPoultry industry in ancient JudeaJesus as mother henA chicken in the manger—in the lord’s flock

#2            ︎  

Eggs of resurrectionMary Magdalene’s egg turns blood redOffering eggs to the deadThe shroud appears on eggsWhite house Easter Egg Roll

#3            ︎

Cock betrayalRoosters in the catacombsThe Good Shepherd with a roosterDemons tremble at cockcrowPoultry: Emblem of ChristianityMaster of courtesyAncient chicken archetype

#4            ︎

Chickens swinging overheadRooster as human substituteKosher chicken slaughterChannels for atonementCocks on potsherdsSacrificial rooster

#5            ︎

Sacred chickens of RomePoultry divinationChicken feed omensChickens stamping their feetAncient roman chicken fragment

#6            ︎

Giant white rooster in Islamic heavenHis comb reaches the second heavenCrows the name, “Allah”They have seen an angelAniconismCalligraphic roosters and eggs

#7            ︎

Zodiacal roostersGhosts are afraid of cocksPrayer boardsGoddess of laughterMeditating Buddhist chickensConfucian weddingsEating chicken to go to heaven

#8            ︎

Hindu rooster crows, “Om”Rooster as emblem of warChickens tied to Indonesian cremation ritualTransgender chicken goddess

#9            ︎

African rooster spirit maskTraces of crusted patinaCock sacrificeDrinking rooster bloodVotive offeringsBorneo rooster effigy on shaman medicine box

#10          ︎

Rooster heralds castrated Greek godNordic rooster perches atop tree of lifeSlavic hut walks on chicken legsSiberian shrines

#11          ︎

Voodoo and folk beliefsSymbol of purificationChicken feet in ritualsBrooms for spiritual cleansingBlack chicken aerosol sprayWritings of the magiNecromancy and conjurationManufacturing a magic chicken

#12          ︎

The ever-vigilant spirit rooster sounds the alarm

#13          ︎

Chicken heaven

Jeffrey VALLANCE was born in 1955 in Redondo Beach, CA. In 1979, he received a B.A. from CSUN and, in 1981, an MFA from Otis. He lives and works in Los Angeles. His work blurs the lines between object making, installation, performance, curating and writing. Often his projects are site-specific such as burying a frozen chicken at a pet cemetery; traveling to Polynesia to research the myth of Tiki; having audiences with the king of Tonga, the queen and president of Palau and the presidents of Iceland; creating a Richard Nixon Museum; traveling to the Vatican to study Christian relics; installing an exhibit aboard a tugboat in Sweden; curating shows in the fabulous museums of Las Vegas, such as the Liberace and Clown Museum. In Lapland Vallance constructed a shamanic “magic drum,” In Orange County, Mr. Vallance curated the only art world exhibition of the Painter of Light entitled “Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth.”  In 1983, he was host of MTV’s The Cutting Edge and appeared on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. In 2004, Vallance received the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation award. In addition to exhibiting his artwork, Mr. Vallance has written for such publications and journals as Art issues, Artforum, L.A. Weekly, Juxtapoz, Frieze and Fortean Times. He has published over 10 books including: Blinky the Friendly Hen, The World of Jeffrey Vallance: Collected Writings 1978-1994, Christian Dinosaur, Art on the Rocks, Preserving America’s Cultural Heritage, Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth, My Life with Dick, Relics and Reliquaries, The Vallance Bible and Rudis Tractus (Rough Drawing).


Jeffrey Vallance original artworks appear courtesy of Edward Cella Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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