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Artist Robin Lasser and photographer Adrienne Pao collaborated on this charming and fun-filled work of 21St Century art seen at the Richmond Art Center this fall. That's Adrienne in the dress which is actually a tent (or a tent which also a dress.) True to the contemporary ethos of blowing tradional art-form boundaries all to hell, the art combines elements of installation, sculpture, fiberarts, performance art, and even the fine art of bartending. (Adrienne was serving Scotch and soda, real Scotch and real soda.) The Artistic Engineer of the dress tents was Kimo Hodge.
Since I am an unrepentant white male veteran of the 1950's (I graduated from a small-town high school in 1959), I can only dimly intuit that there is some kind of feminist message in this delightful work of art, probably about social pressure on women to be attached to the home, putting on a performance. Adrienne (inset right bottom) splendidly enacted the role of the perfect 1950's hostess, down to her sweet smile, intoxicating offering, and pretty dress. (Even the tent was pretty). Robin (inset left bottom) was not part of the installation, but both women (they're not girls any more) were extremely open, trusting, and friendly to the paparazzo (me) who came straight from his day job and offered to snap their pictures with his telephone. Frankly, the girls of the 50's were not that perfect or outgoing.
Being a student of mythology, however, I think the dress tent concept goes much deeper than 1950's nostalgia and postmodern deconstruction. It taps into the birth trauma theories of Otto Rank, by which the newborn infant is brutally ejected from the womb, forever afterwards caught between the desire to return to intrauterine nirvana and the desire to become a separate, autonomous, groundbreaking, innovating, revolutionary individual. The tent-dress is a womb, and emerging from the tent (there is a video inside, and a peek at Adrienne's lingerie), I felt like a born-again blogger. Otto Rank wrote that the birth trauma dilemma can be resolved by becoming an artist. Hallelujah!| Technorati tags: 1950's Womb Installation OttoRank
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