SPUDNIK: A Sci-Fry History Of Potato Space Exploration, 2007, Pigment inkjet prints, mounted wall texts, metal and plastic models, HD video, 7 minutes. Installation view, DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park, 2007
SPUDNIK is a sci-fry tale of space exploration by potatoes during the Cold Storage War. As a kid, I read and wrote science fiction, designed space ships, and built working model rockets, all with the dodgy craftsmanship expected of a ten-year-old boy. I may be trying to recapture this sincere, creative, rough-edged spirit of my pre-adolescent years through the wanton use of food-based puns and silver spray paint. Or I may just be playing with my food
Jeffu is an art-world trickster and comedian who runs riot with visual and verbal puns in an astounding array of media. His latest extravaganza, SPUDNIK, is based entirely on a stupid pun. With video, dioramas, sculpture, and photographs, Jeffu simultaneously pokes fun at the political history of the space program, American cuisine, consumer culture, and - of course - the pomposity of museum displays. -Nick Capasso, curator, DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park
Exhibitions & Screenings
- Jeffu Warmouth: No More Funny Stuff, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA, 2014
- Kaunas Photo Festival, Cafe SADUTE, Kaunas, Lithuania, 2009
- SPUDNIK and other stories by Jeffu!, The Gallery at Childrens Hospital, Boston, MA, 2008
- Seriously, Funny: Without Borders V Contemporary Art Festival, University of Maine, Orono, 2008
- Boston Underground Film Festival, Brattle Theatre, Boston, MA, 2008
- 2007 DeCordova Annual Exhibition, DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, 2007
SPUDNIK: A Sci-Fry History Of Potato Space Exploration, 2007, HD video, 7 minutes.
SPUDNIK Installation view, Fitchburg Art Museum, 2014. Photograph by Charles Sternaimolo
Alexandr Peelzov Orbits Watermelon Aboard SPUDNIK X-3, 2007, Pigment inkjet print, 20 x 30 inches
SPUDNIK X-1 Searches for Stray Sour Cream Rays, 2007, Pigment inkjet print, 20 x 30 inches
Yuri Bakonov's Famous Spice Walk During SPUDNIK X-4 Mission, 2007, Pigment inkjet print, 20 x 30 inches
SPUDNIK X-27 Syrup Lander Explores the Surface of Pancake, 2007, Pigment inkjet print, 20 x 30 inches
SPUDNIK V-17 Rescued by EXPESSO IV, 2007, Pigment inkjet print, 20 x 30 inches
Linda Laban, "Meet me at the museum," Boston Globe, July 19, 2007
Who would want to miss Fitchburg-based artist Jeff Warmouth's innovative "Spudnik " installation? Warmouth utilizes potatoes and tinfoil to present potatonauts in space.
Ken Johnson, "Punch, potato scientists, & ‘Sodmonsters’ at DeCordova," Boston Globe, May 18, 2007
The prize for the funniest artist definitely should go to Jeff "Jeffu" Warmouth for his sculptures, digital photographs, and video documenting an outer space exploration program called "Spudnik " developed by a race of anthropomorphic potatoes. The deadpan video describing how potato scientists learned to harness intestinal gases as a means to propel "potatonauts" on rockets to other planets is hilarious, and models of vehicles for extraterrestrial travel made from pots, pans, utensils, aluminum foil, and other kinds of kitchenware are quite clever. Warmouth would have to push his ideas to greater extremes to achieve artistic profundity, but what he has done so far is undeniably entertaining.
Greg Cook, "Local Color: The 2007 DeCordova Annual Exhibition," Boston Phoenix, May 8, 2007,
also posted on The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, May 10, 2007
No need to apologize for Fitchburg artist Jeff "Jeffu" Warmouth, whose 2007 video Spudnik mixes animation and puppetry to tell its fractured tale of a Soviet-styled nation of potato people and their quest for the stars. "The desire for space exploration among the Potatoites has a long and delicious history," the narrator explains in that optimistic march-of-progress tone familiar from newsreels and science documentaries. Warmouth’s installation includes rocket models and photos "documenting" the Spudnik program — the "Unmanned Foil Satellite" is a ball of tinfoil with three metal legs that exploded on re-entry because "engineers had neglected to poke holes in the foil to prevent steam build-up." Warmouth’s project is a light goof on museum displays, filled with groan-inducing puns and charming Sesame Street–style humor. Sometimes it’s too light and silly, but he keeps everything short enough that it doesn’t wear out its welcome.
Chris Bergeron, "Art Matters," MetroWest Daily News, May 20, 2007
Vincent Van Gogh might have favored oil paints but Jeff "Jeffu" Warmouth uses wrinkly potatoes to create a faux Soviet-style space race featuring tinfoil-wrapped Spudniks hot off his creative Frialator. With his Salvador Dali moustache, Warmouth has created "Spudnik," a singular multimedia potpourri that combines a potato fetish, surrealism, schlock movies and very weird humor. An art teacher at Fitchburg State College, he has reinvented the Cold War space race of the 1960s through a series of purposefully corny documentaries, photos and exhibits focused on "Spudnik," a tinfoil-wrapped potato impersonating a Soviet-style satellite. When cosmonaut Alexandr Peelzov achieves liftoff from "three pounds of soaked lima beans" or Spudnik crashes because "engineers neglected to poke holes in the foil to prevent steam buildup," visitors can either laugh, shake their heads or marvel at Warmouth's warped recasting of recent history. While "Spudnik" evokes chuckles and groans, Warmouth's spacey installation explores serious questions about how government-driven media coverage shaped public perception of the Space Race.
Charles Guiliano, "The 2007 DeCordova Annual: Getting There is Half the Fun ," Maverick Arts #313 / Berkshire Fine Arts, May 19, 2007
Jeff "Jeffu" Warmouth's send up of "Spudnik" with a video and several maquettes is genuinely hilarious. Be sure to spend time seeing the entire video even though the museum might have given us a bench to sit on. The work is indeed a very "original" and gonzo, sci fi, hypothesis of the secret life of potatoes and how they launch from dirtworld to outer space.
"SPUDNIK lands at DeCordova," Lincoln Journal, June 13, 2007
On Saturday, June 16 at 3 p.m., the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park will host artist Jeff "Jeffu" Warmouth, who will discuss his work and creative process in an Artist Talk. Warmouth’s art installation is featured in The 2007 DeCordova Annual Exhibition, which is on display through Aug. 12. The Artist Talk will take place on the Third Floor Lobby and is free with campus admission. Lincoln residents receive free admission.
Drawing upon a variety of media, Warmouth adds a comic twist to the DeCordova Annual. Based entirely upon a pun, his latest exhibit "SPUDNIK" pokes fun at the political history of the space program, American cuisine, and consumer culture. Visitors laugh out loud as potatoes blast into space in the "sci-fry tale of space exploration by potatoes during the Cold Storage War." Featuring a mixed media of video, dioramas, sculpture, and photographs, "SPUDNIK" provides a humorous look at the world of produce in space.
Warmouth works with photography, video, installations, book art, performance art, sculpture, and digital media to satirize art and culture. Other recent projects have included a televised Wild West reality/game show, video spoofs of sci-fi and martial arts movies played out by fruits and vegetables. and live full-costume Japanese monster wrestling events.
"Art of Trees and Taters," Boston Globe, May 10, 2007
It's a good thing the DeCordova Annual Exhibition focuses on variety. Otherwise, how would the curators integrate Sandra Allen's 37-foot-tall drawing of a tree and Jeff Warmouth's "Spudnik" installation involving space program politics and potatoes?
Randi Hopkins, "Radical Dude...the 2007 Annual at the DeCordova," Boston Phoenix, April 24, 2007
And not to be missed — the "2007 DEcordova Annual Exhibition" opens at the DeCordova Museum May 5, once again promising a fine round-up of New England–based talent. This year’s edition has work by Robert Taplin, Elke Morris, Sandra Allen, Ria Brodell, Samantha Fields, Anne Lilly, Nathalie Miebach, Jeff "Jeffu" Warmouth, Jungil Hong, and Sarah Amos.