825 Bainbridge Street
The material world is my muse. I devotedly collect ephemera and objects – ticket stubs, gallery announcements, id badges, shopping bags, fashion spreads, centerfolds, old reading glasses, dry cleaning tags… Simultaneously I record each day’s activities in a Filofax (and have done so since 1979) — I am the amanuensis of my own life.
By transforming these materials into art, I am better able to comprehend and claim my history. Scraps of found paper become my brush strokes. Old cell phones and 20 – year – old colognes replace marble blocks. Each finished work is a self-portrait, a souvenir, a page in my diary. In this process I continue to be inspired by great diarist/collectors of the past, including Kurt Shwitters, On Kawara, Hannah Darboven and Ray Johnson.
I see the remarkable in the commercial. I see beauty and pathos in a Nike hang-tag… in a Hotel Bel Air matchbook. Through the ‘found’ color in advertising I create minimalist paintings. The tropes of luxury goods and visual merchandising inspire me, and make me question the boundaries that separate art from the commercial world. For me, the distance between MoMA and Bergdorf’s is short.
By day I am a fashion jewelry designer whose company, Maximal Art, ornaments women around the world. After hours, I am a fine artist who ornaments the men of my dreams. I tattoo their skin with ephemera and make fetish necklaces for them out of my past. I caress them and lovingly cut them out of porn magazines. I express adolescent lust with adult confidence. And like Robert Mapplethorpe or Jack Pierson, I seek queer sublime, but through different and more maximal means.
My work also explores the carnal draw of celebrity. I read Art Forum, Vanity Fair, and Women’s Wear Daily, and I place myself in each interview, mimicking the rituals of stardom. Sometimes I’m serious, sometimes playful.
So where does this lead? Approaching an installation you might find a 6’ bulletin board plastered with men, both dressed and undressed, juxtaposed with an Obama Hope poster, a 1950’s plaster nude festooned with a necklace of old mix-tapes, a hand-drawn copy of celebrity interview from Elle Décor, and a pair of New York Times front pages, one covered in Gucci ads and the other with images of Richard Prince’s starlet photos.
And what’s it all about? At first I combine a pointillist self-portrait with a Warholian time capsule. And then, I challenge and blur the lines between private and public, and between the commercial and cultural worlds we live in. Through this interplay, my life emerges.
Slade School of Art, London
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
1983 – 1985
Thouron Award for two years study in the UK
Select Fair, Miami, FL
Member Exhibition: InLiquid, PPAC, Second State, at Ice Box Project Space and Grey Area, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA
The Making of a Modern Man, James Oliver Gallery in partnership with InLiquid, Philadelphia, PA
Benefit Exhibition for BalletX, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
I Shop, Therefore I am, Artfronts Project, Philadelphia, PA
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Musee Arts Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
Becker, Vivienne, Fabulous Fakes: The History of Fantasy and Fashion Jewellery, Grafton Books, London
Fitch, Janet, The Art and Craft of Jewelry, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA
Images copyright © John Y. Wind
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