Art Lies, Volume 64, Winter 2009 Page: 101
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L. Bari Ziperstein, Backstock, 2009; vinyl wallpaper, pifiata, plastic chain; site-
specific installation, See Line Gallery at the Pacific Design Center
R. Marlon Protector, 2009; altered slip cast earthenware, inlay finished with low
fire glazes and platinum luster; 13 x 13 x 21 inches; courtesy the artist and
See Line Gallery, Los Angeles
See Line Gallery at the Pacific Design Center
The abundance of "stuff" in Richard Hamilton's iconic collage Just What Is
It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? is what makes his
critique of modern living so compelling. With its lollipop-penis-wielding
muscleman, cramped acid-orange couch, bosom-pinching pinup and a hefty
canned ham on a skinny-legged coffee table, the erotic absurdity of the
cluttered scene is both mesmerizing and overwhelming. More than a half-
century later, Bari Ziperstein's installation Perk, hosted by See Line Gallery at
the Pacific Design Center (PDC), updates Hamilton's aesthetic and concep-
tual proposition through the use of an entirely different set of unexpected
collage techniques. The result is a phenomenal site-specific investigation
into the things we certainly don't need, but can't live without.
Ziperstein's installation exists in a repurposed showroom at the PDC,
a space taken over after its original inhabitants closed shop due to the
economy. The room is punctuated by small ceramic sculptures, perched
atop bizarre pedestal conglomerations formed from conjoined and refig-
ured household furniture. Mashed-together coffee tables, bedposts and
mirrors, with odd protruding limbs and obstructing angles, they effectively
undermine any Modernist notion of form following function.
The ceramic works on these wooden supports juxtapose incongruous,
often sexual forms in uproarious and hallucinatory ways. They amplify the
bawdiness, irreverence and seething horniness that lurks behind the accu-
mulation of knick knacks. For example, in Full Fruit clamshells on a small
bathing beauty figurine are switched out for gargantuan nautilus knockers,
exaggerating the not-so-latent eroticism of the original ceramic mold.
Ziperstein's ceramics are assembled using prefab molds from which
objects are cast, then strategically disassembled, reassembled, fired and
finally glazed as one piece. This produces one-of-a kind works that suc-
cessfully mimic the mass-produced patina of their progenitors. They
appear as a mutated collection of decorative taste, a sort of Kunstkammer
of tchotchkes that cannibalize each another, dissolving into and sprouting
from their equally irregular display settings.
Continuing the exhibition through the boutique, Ziperstein's Backstock
covers the entire backroom-including the carpet-with a kaleidoscopic
vinyl photocollage of an overstuffed chandelier stockroom. A handmade
golden chandelier piiata dangles in the center of the room from a mass
of cheesy plastic-chain swags. The display and its attendant visitors are
reflected in a floor-to-ceiling mirrored wall, creating a spectacular and over-
whelming situation, inspiring wonderment, cell phone self-portraiture and
questions of just what constitutes inventory, surplus and need. The work also
alludes to the fine line between avid collector and compulsive hoarder.
Because Perk resides in the PDC, the most ostentatious temple to
decadence and obsolescence west of Vegas, Ziperstein's curious works
effectively implicate the "high end" showrooms just down the hall, subsum-
ing their stock and trade into her critique. She inspires visitors to look at
the goods sold at these neighboring boutiques as equally strange objects.
In calling attention to this comparison, Ziperstein's work effectively asks,
at what point do the possessions we use to mark our identity and decorate
our lives end up becoming a burden? When does our stuff consume us?
Tucker Neel is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
101 ART LIES NO. 64
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Gupta, Anjali. Art Lies, Volume 64, Winter 2009, periodical, 2009; Houston, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228029/m1/103/: accessed May 22, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .