Deitch Does Stephen Sprouse

Frankly Stephen Sprouse, and no- its not awkward addressing this post to someone whose dead, I’m not familiar with you or your design work. Maybe its my lack of interest in things that walk down runways, or perhaps its the fact that my birthdate is a little past your prime. In any case, Rock on Mars is clearly a memorial to you. Cheers.

Stephen Sprouse: Rock on Mars is a Deitch Project located at 18 Wooster St. Open til Feb 28th, make it a stop on your lower east side adventures. So, the show is interesting based on two components, Deitch and his ability to create a fantastically lavish space and then, of course, Stephen Sprouse’s work itself. So, in sum, exhibition design concepts + art. For me the design here is actually more interesting, but we’ll start with the art.

So if you’re a small girl, fashion senseless, born out of sync with the rest of your time, then you don’t have the faintest clue who Stephen Sprouse is. As I’ve now learned, let me share the knowledge. Think fashion explorer of the punk rock 80s. Think clothing made out of rows of safety pins, think big shoulders mini skirt, baggy, angular, color and pattern traumatized. Place extra emphasis on that traumatized.

Now that you get the image of what’s on display, lets check out how its displayed because this to me is more interesting. First, bright napalm orange walls covered in a sort of screen printed graffiti. Line of mannequins against the wall in a runwayesque look, your center stage display of course and then both an upper and lower level of more memorabilia. Heading downstairs you find yourself in a room of black lights with sketches like the one above popping with its day glow color scheme. Opposite, the wall is covered in gray spandex camouflage sheen. Its pulled and stretched and wrapped about with its nose up in the air. Its fashion punk and it knows it. Now get out of its way. Upstairs, its a wall of Polaroids, some random some documenting people actually wearing these clothes. I get a kick out of finding someone wearing the see-through mesh dress covered in large (but not large enough) dangling sequins. Its quite funny, as is the scribbled on Barcelona Chair – its a message to Mies Van Der Rohe of course.

The place flaunts the punk culture – this fashiony aesthetic that might as well be from a different time. With all the appropriate music tastefully not quite blaring in the background, you might just be convinced you’re backstage at the catwalk waiting for some leather and studs to appear.

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