I Baked a Cake in Will Cotton’s Candyland Studio
THE ARMITAGE GONE DANCE EXQUISITE CORPSE PROJECT
More than 180 internationally recognized visual artists, architects, designers and photographers participated in the Armitage Gone! Dance Exquisite Corpse Project, beginning in 2011. The artists created one hundred and thirty nine artworks to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance, an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company under the direction of renowned choreographer Karole Armitage. Using the 1920's surrealist parlor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper, the project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition. Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists.
The Exquisite Corpse project is a way for a wide range of artists to express their support for Armitage’s work and also a way for her to acknowledge artists who have played such a large role in her career. The project also highlights the “performative” aspect of art-making by demonstrating that drawing, performance art, and dance all have in common spontaneity and an unpredictable nature. The evanescent quality of dance is mirrored in the surprising juxtapositions of the Exquisite Corpse.
Since the 1970s, Tom Otterness has been populating public spaces with his impish human and animal sculptures, through which he gently lampoons American society. Disarmingly cute and cartoonish, and underpinned by art history, popular culture, and a democratic vision, his characters mock societal groups. “The artwork itself has five character types: blue collar workers, white collar workers, cops, […] radicals, […] and […] rich people,” he says. “And I take those five classes and […] make scenarios out of them.” Otterness uses the “lost wax” process to cast his bronze figures, which range from monumental to palm-sized. He explores class, money, race, and sex in his works, putting these fraught topics into the public sphere to spark conversation.
American, b. 1952, Wichita, Kansas, based in New York, New York
Using a refined painterly technique inspired by the Hudson River School and traditional figure painting, Will Cotton paints surrealistic foodscapes and demure female nudes wearing lollipop crowns, lounging in cotton candy, or adorned with cupcake foils. Cotton paints from life, constructing elaborate models using real baked goods and other confectionery, from which he derives the fantastical environments depicted in his large-scale canvases. Cotton’s work has been interpreted as a criticism of the greed and the overindulgence of American society, as well as a contemporary re-imagination of traditional genres such as landscape and portraiture. Cotton has also directed his creative energies toward the realm of popular culture, acting as art director for Katy Perry’s California Gurls (2010) music video and depicting the singer in a series of paintings.
American, b. 1965, Melrose, Massachusetts, based in New York, New York