Featuring: Alejandro Diaz, Feral Childe, Christine Hill, Derek Sullivan, Vexed Generation and Judy Werthein.
As a functioning store, “THE GIFT boutique” features a gift wrapping station, a selection of books, CDs, magazines, wrapping paper, packing tape, and clothing, all created by artists and designers whose play on the “boutique” model belies their sensitivity toward commercial practices, and in ways that both laud and critique this association. The presentation in a commercial gallery not only reinforces how easily these artists and designers assume corporate identities, but how each redefine the parameters of the boutique to create personal exchanges between themselves, their “products,” and the consumer.
With his characteristic humor that marks the irony of corporate advertising and its inability to translate into the everyday, Alejandro Diaz will create outdoor signs directing potential customers to the store as well as showcase a set of his ongoing cardboard signs for the boutique. Diaz (New York) has exhibited at venues such as The Drawing Center, New York; Havana Biennial, Havana; Jersey City Museum, New Jersey; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn; and Jessica Murray Projects, New York.
Brooklyn artist/designer duo Moriah Carlson and Alice Wu of Feral Childe will debut their new line, HOMUNCULII, at “THE GIFT boutique.” Select styles will be produced in a limited edition of six pieces each, available to the public before the collection is officially released in 2006.
With “offices” in New York and Germany, Christine Hill has created a roving project space called Volksboutique that offers various strategies for doing what she has stated as, “Make the most of what you’ve got!” Translating into a boutique in Kassel, Germany, to a television test pilot program and to a home office in New York, Hill assembles pieces from her “Products Division” including the Volksboutique Care Package (2003), the The Volksboutique Handbag (2000), and will debut a new multiple brought exclusively to customers of “THE GIFT boutique.”
Creating gift wrap and packing tape, Derek Sullivan poses unspoken questions everyone asks, like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and “What Have I Done to Deserve This?.” Literally emblazoned on the tape and paper itself, Sullivan unpacks the ritual of gift giving and the larger, if often unfulfilled, desires of consumer culture.
As with all of their collections that blend fashion with its social-political ramifications on the world-at-large through the wearer, Vexed Generation will feature versions of their Wrap Liberation and Ninja series of jackets, polar fleeces and related garments for “THE GIFT boutique.” Intrigued by what these designers deem as the “sartorial link between the idle rich and the idle poor,” irony abounds in Vexed garments like Wrap Liberation, which echoes the restrictive blankets used by the hungry and homeless while making an ironic reference to French designer Christian Dior’s 1957 La Normandie, a jacket without sleeves or armholes.
Fresh from her debut at inSite_05, Judi Werthein will showcase her custom-designed and trademarked Brinco (2005) sneakers whose sales support migrant workers crossing for the most part, the San Diego/Tijuana border. The shoe design provides information and materials that are relevant to and assists the ongoing plight of these workers.
Related blog posts: James Wagner