@ the Riverside Art Museum

at the Riverside Art Museum

Exhibition: September 30 – November 25, 2014

Live Psychic Haircutting Event: Friday, October 3, 2014, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

“Every flame contains fire, any bone from a dead body contains death, in just the same way as a single hair is thought to contain a man’s life force.”

– Marcel Mauss, A General Theory of Magic

Psychic Barber is a public engagement situated in a sculpture inspired by barbershops and psychic storefronts. The sculpture is staffed with hair stylists who also possess supernatural gifts. They give free psychic readings and create a new hairstyle for the participant that reflects the insight gained through the experience. Megan Steinman has written an essay to accompany the project, titled The Law of Contiguity.

Psychic Barber was first commissioned by Side Street Projects and generously supported by the Pasadena Art AlliancePsychic Barber is a collaboration between Finishing School and Yucef Merhi.

Established in 2001, Finishing School is a socially engaged artist collective that explores an expansive range of subject and media territories. The Los Angeles-based collective has seven members who represent a broad range of skills. Finishing School produces interdisciplinary actions, installations, workshops, design, studio art, performance, and new media. They have presented work throughout the United States and internationally.

Recently, FS has produced projects for Occidental College in Los Angeles, Side Street Projects in Pasadena, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Hammer Museum, the 2010 California Biennial, Engagement Party: a three-month residency program at MOCA, Living as Form: a 20-year survey of social practice for Creative Time in New York, The Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, and a site-specific commission for DFLUX in Detroit. Finishing School has also presented projects internationally in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Thailand, England, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and Italy. 

Yucef Merhi is an artist, poet, and computer programmer. Considered by many to be the pioneer of Digital Art in Venezuela, Merhi creates interactive environments, computer-based works and digital applications, while proposing various ways to experience natural language and code. He has exhibited across the US and internationally, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Exit Art, Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), De Appel in Amsterdam, the 2007 Biennial de São Paulo, and the 10th Istanbul Biennial.