Our Modern Martyrs Grace NYC Nightclubs

For his exhibition “12 Midnight,” a multi-venue installation with Leila Heller Gallery, London-based artist Reza Aramesh hit the New York City nightclubs—Marquee in Chelsea, No. 8 in the Meatpacking District, Santos Party House in Tribeca, Sugarland in Williamsburg, Bossa Nova Civic Club in Bushwick—to install handcrafted sculptures and busts, each displayed on a plinth tagged by graffiti artist Jason Castro and encased in a wooden box equipped with peepholes. “Peep shows were traditionally or historically a form of entertainment provided by wandering showmen,” Aramesh says. But unlike coin-operated peep shows, Aramesh’s sculptures look to a different fetish that we seem to line up for, coins in hand—sensational wartime media. “In the mass media, we are bombarded by the images of war and reportage of the territorial conflicts. [They] have become mere entertainments,” he says. “By using the methodology of the 17th-century Spanish iconography of martyrdom and suffering, hand-carving and polychroming to achieve perfection, creating sculptures of Saints, I am suggesting that lamentation, grieve and suffering is universal and beyond religious boundaries, it's almost a human condition. I am also posing the question: Are these our ‘modern martyrs’?”

Slip on your dancing shoes and make an evening of touring the multi-venue exhibition, on view through June 5, 2013.

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