There have been some truly strange gallery shows dealing with science-fictional themes in the past several years. But SQRRL, a new show from artist John Russell, which runs until Jan. 10 at the Bridget Donahue Gallery in New York, could just be the weirdest.

The actual art is pretty jarring and strange, judging from the images that are available online. There’s a turtle impaled on a floor-to-ceiling pole, plus some strange paintings of chimeras having some kind of war (see above and below.) But there’s also a website that goes with the gallery show, in which we learn more about Russell’s future history.

SQRRL takes place in a nightmarish future in which transgenic upgrades have gone completely berserk. It’s the story of CarLEee, who lives nearly 200 years and receives 45 “body allocations” from other species. Including a squirrel (hence the name) but also a lot of others.

Russell has created a whole website that goes along with the gallery show, and it explains the whole story of CarLEee, including entries like, “CarLEee’s neighbor/Is called Jalled Hemmings/An accountant/Who works at CCCCCX./He is a tree spider/gorilla.” There are animated gifs, and you really have to see it for yourself. The “footnotes” to this extensive narrative are actually longer than the text, and include lots of discussion of cyborg theorist Donna Haraway and philosopher Luce Irigaray. So get your critical theory hat on, I guess!

The whole thing is just delightfully strange, and looks like a surreal art project crossed with a French comic book, with just a hint of Guardians of the Galaxy. Check out a few more pics from the exhibition below. [via New York Times]



All images via Bridget Donahue Gallery/press site.

Contact the author at and follow her on Twitter @CharlieJane