HOUSE COAT, is a site-specific installation that will take place in Spring 2011 in St. Louis, MO, and will involve the creation of a fitted spandex garment for Cosign Projects, a two-story, row-house curated by Lauren Adams. Andrea Carey of LA LA Land is helping me organize the logistics of this public art installation, while my sister and filmmaker, Anya Meksin, will be video recording the installation process. This project will be visible during the citywide Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) Conference.
The above image is a simplified projection of the finished installation. The actual HOUSE COAT will involve corset-like fixtures in the back, weights, leather, and over 800 yards of spandex! The fabrication process will take 2 months in my studio in Brooklyn and 1 week on site in St. Louis. The installation will take place over the course of two days with a team of 4 assistants. The budget for this project is $13,000. I have already raised over a third of that, and hope that Kickstarter would enable me to raise the rest of the funds.
HOUSE COAT, as the pun implies, refers both to the literal fact of the house getting a new covering (a face lift of sorts) as well as to the garment often worn by people indoors (i.e. the outfit that is specifically designed for a private sphere and not permitted an exterior use).
Given that the scale of a building is much larger than that of the human body -- and most ready-made patterns are designed with the human body in mind -- it was imperative for this project that the print’s scale related to the size of the architectural form. The pattern I designed with the help of the fabric designer, Ceci Davis, consists of large gold chains on a white, semi-transparent surface. The logic behind this pattern is multifold: (1) Cosign Projects is located in a depressed area of St. Louis, with multiple boarded-up houses surrounding it; (2) The gold on white motif makes frequent appearances in hip hop and pop culture as a sign of wealth and fabulousness; (3) The house, wrapped in gold chains, will flaunt itself to locals, while simultaneously finding itself bound and gagged by its own design.
Working within the tradition of such installation artists as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, this project is part of my ongoing exploration of the visual potential of stretch fabrics. While Christo's projects, such as "Wrapped Reichstag," elegantly reference the culture of Ancient Greece and comment on structures of power and local jurisprudence, my spandex installations evoke the hyper-fitted garments worn by entertainers, drag queens, and super heroes. The idea of dressing houses and other staid architectural structures in raunchy, racy (somewhat inappropriate) outfits strikes a humorous chord rarely found within urban and suburban housing. With these installations, I'm interested in exploring questions such as: (1) How does the life expectancy of a building material (i.e. brick or wood) affect our perceptions of durability, solidity, and hardiness; (2) What happens to large inanimate objects when they get dressed up in architectural “drag”; (3) How do pattern and decoration relate to questions of gender and sexuality?
I'm very excited about this project, and grateful to all of you for helping me spread the word and for considering being a backer for this site-specific installation!
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