In Los Angeles and feeling like you need some cleansing, healing, or therapy? Then come have your wound licked at this art show.

Dogs are known for licking their wounds, as it’s supposed to expedite healing. For the most part, at least in modern culture, dog saliva as a wound-healer is pretty unheard of and drool in general is considered germy, gross, and dirty, when it comes to humans. What if I told you that in ancient times, dogs were considered sacred, and their slobber could heal you from whatever ails you physically, spiritually, or psychologically? A quick Wikipedia search brings up a list of dogs cited in religion, from Christianity, to Hindu, to Aztec, and more. In this art exhibit, Matt Wardell explores the Asclepeion, the sacred temple where Ancient Greeks and Romans would journey to in search of healing. And yes, dog slobber was involved, and it worked.

Baik Art presents an immersive exhibit centered around the idea of an Asclepeion, an ancient Greek temple for healing.  In ancient Greece and Rome, an asclepeion was a healing temple, sacred to Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine. If you were ill, be it physically or spiritually, you would flock to these temples to receive treatment or healing. You would “incubate” overnight, and report your dreams to a priest the following day, where he would prescribe a cure. Usually this consisted of a visit to one of the baths or a gymnasium. Dogs were kept at the shrine and were specially trained to lick the patients, as the myth was that their saliva contained healing properties. Also, since snakes were sacred to Asclepius, serpents were often used in healing rituals. The non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor in rooms where the sick and injured slept. Imagine having to choose between getting licked on by dogs or sleeping with a mound of slithering serpants? We’d pick the dogs, too.

EYE-DEE-QUE (Something Like an Asclepeion) will be open until February 13, 2016. The artist, Matt Wardell, has designed the space in a way to reflect elements of Asclepions, such as drawings, collages, and repurposed images. Vertical fabric sculptures function as “apotropaic totems.” In addition to the interactive space, daytime and evening events will be scheduled to supplement the exhibit. The one I’m most excited about is happening on February 6, and is called “An Event for Wound Licking,” in which participants are invited to bring their wounds (physical or psychological) and also their dogs. For licking. Just like the Ancient Greeks.

If you’re not into dog slobber, you might be interested in other healing rituals such as sonic cleansing, and incubation and dream analysis. Plan to stay overnight with a guided dream professional. See the press release below for more info on the event and the artist.



EYE-DEE-QUE (Something Like an Asclepeion)
Matt Wardell
January 9 – February 13, 2016

Baik Art presents EYE-DEE-QUE (Something Like an Asclepeion), a solo installation and series of events by Los Angeles artist Matt Wardell.

For the exhibition, Wardell will present an immersive envi ronment of images and objects by channeling ‘something like’ an ancient Greek temple of healing. Using Baik Art’s unique architecture, viewers experience a literal (and perhaps figurative) katabasis (‘to go down’ as in a descent of some type), but more importantly, and ideally, a catharsis (‘cleansing’ or ‘purification’).

Numerous objects, found and constructed, engage with the verticality of Baik Art’s shaft-like space, surrounded by an installation of wall works including drawings, collages, and repurposed images. Several fabric sculptures fill the gallery functioning as apotropaic totems. These Guardian Figures suggest a ‘presence’, ideally something beyond the object.

Daytime and evening events will further activate the gallery a space for healing. Practitioners from a variety of fields will be on hand for consultation. Music for Healing or What You Need will present a sonic cleansing. Incubation and Dream Analysis will be an overnight event of guided sleep followed by dream analysis with a professional. Utilizing the healing properties of dog saliva, An Event for Wound Licking will be a participatory event pairing wounds with dogs. For the date and time of each event, please contact the artist at shonufwardell@hotmail.com.

In ancient Greece and Rome, an asclepeion was a healing temple, sacred to Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine. These temples were places in which patients would visit to receive either treatment or some sort of healing, whether it was spiritual or physical. Epidaurus was the first place to worship Asclepius as a god, beginning sometime in the 5th century BCE.

Starting around 350 BCE, the cult of Asclepius became increasingly popular. Pilgrims flocked to asclepieia to be healed. They slept overnight (“incubation”) and reported their dreams to a priest the following day. He prescribed a cure, often a visit to the baths or a gymnasium. Since snakes were sacred to Asclepius, they were often used in healing rituals. Non-venomous snakes were left to crawl on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept.

Matt Wardell seeks to prolong a sense of wonder while placing the viewer in a lingering position of active assessment. He is interested in how we choose to live and in introducing work that facilitates these investigations. Wardell enjoys walking on fences, answering wrong numbers, and giving directions to places he does not know. Uncomfortable laughter, confusion, and irritation tend to be the byproducts of Wardell’s works.

Wardell has exhibited his work at venues throughout the United States and Mexico, including the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (SFMOMA), Claremont Museum of Art in Claremont, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), REDCAT, PØST, Human Resources, Black Dragon Society, Mark Moore Gallery, and Commonwealth and Council, all in Los Angeles. Wardell is a founding member of the artist collective 10lb Ape.

Baik Art
2600 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90034