Artists / Damon Packard


As part of 2004’s Romantic Detachment Mark Beasley, Sam Walhs and John Russell (of Bank Collective fame) set up a studio at PS1, New York, producing paintings in response to the movies of maverick LA filmmaker Damon Packard (a giant of the West Coast alternative scene who exists solely on a diet of Coke and sweets).

In turn, Packard himself was invited to come and film their metaphysical process of discovery and produce a work called 'The Thinking'. The idea was that all this was visible to the passing PS1 public. As it was the group locked themselves in the studio room off the main gallery for the whole show, only appearing at about 6.30 in the evening after a lengthy session of self-analysis and us banging on the door to tell them it was time to close up. The relationship between the four got increasingly fractious, erupting sporadically with Mark running through the corridors in a hospital gown screaming, chased by the ever rolling camera of Packard. This in turn caused PS1 to get 'really pissed' with Grizedale and close down the show before it opened.

Meanwhile, the material produced by Beasley, Walhs and Russell ironically mined the mixed up slash and slosh neo-Romantic anxiety (Tracey Emin territory). Packard’s incomprehension and critique explored in his film gives perhaps the best insight into the whole 'Romantic Detachment' programme - multiple misunderstanding and romanticisation of other cultures, and why everyone else has such a hard time understanding what the hell they are trying to do.