Opening Reception on Friday, September 6 from 5:30-7:30pm
“Julio is the name of a womens’ clothing store in Mexico. I remember going to one at a shopping mall there—I think in Mexico City. “How chic,” I thought, to use a man’s first name to brand a store that caters to women. This reminded me of the phenomenon around businesses giving themselves French names even when they are not French at all. I imagine that business owners who do this do it to give the impression that their product or service is of an elevated quality. Julio is obviously not a French name but a Spanish-language one, and for a Spanish-language name to sound exotic in a Spanish-speaking country is farfetched; I imagine I was alone in my opinion. Julio is also my father’s name.
I was delighted to learn that the first ever outlet store, followed by the first ever outlet mall, was founded here in Reading. I then found it pressing when I learned that the VF Outlet center underwent a modern renovation less than a year before. What funny timing. Although I never had a personal relationship to this mall I was saddened by the news. On the internet I watched videos that Reading locals had personally created and uploaded to Youtube. The videos toured the many spaces of the former VF Outlet center just prior to demolition. The videos felt like a record, or an ode, or like the back pages of your yearbook on the last day of school where you write a message to your classmate wishing them a good summer and then they return the favor. I suppose that by calling this exhibition “Julio” I am returning the favor to my father.”
— Camila Guerrero