Alex Kuno and the cute end of the world

Ouroboros Festival by Alex Kuno
Ouroboros Festival by Alex Kuno

Walking through Saturday night's opening of "Miscreants of Tiny Town and the Unknown Unknowns" at Cult Status Gallery was kind of like flipping through the irregularly shaped pages of an 18th-century storybook where each painting illustrates its own little morbid tale of doom. Alex Kuno's characters go through all sorts of eerie and awful adventures, but they somehow manage to maintain a certain pluckiness throughout. 

On his blog, Kuno writes that the series was in part inspired by society's fears of the apocalypse. He's partially poking fun of those fears, but at the same time -- at least with this latest edition -- he is also "coming to terms with the sad inevitability of it."
Acknowledging Change by Alex Kuno
Acknowledging Change by Alex Kuno

In Shelter, a boy with rabbit legs and rabbit hands wears a tattered coat and scarf with a hat that contains rabbit ears. He looks fearfully behind him as he approaches a little girl. She is inside a box with a lid in the middle of a field with scattered upside-down plants. She wears the same sort of hat, and also has rabbit hands. She reaches toward him, as if to entreat him to enter into her place of safety. The boy carries in his arms a flower. Is it for the little girl? Maybe the two will survive the Armageddon, and live on to make new rabbit-human babies one day.

There's a resonance of hope that permeates the series. No matter how awful and inevitable the end times seem to be, you want the characters to survive in the end. That's the power of narrative. Because even if it's meant to be satire, Kuno is so successful at creating characters that draw you in, you can't help wanting to fill in the rest of the story. Where did they come from? What will happen to them now? In Kuno's vision, the end of the world is coming, but maybe, just maybe, a few heroes will survive to tell the tale. 
Cult Status Gallery
2913 Harriet Ave S., Minneapolis
Through April 17
You can also see the artist's work at
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Cult Status Gallery - Closed

2913 Harriet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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