50 Orange St, New Haven, (203) 772-2709Leeza Meksin: Flossing the Lot
at The Lot, located in the outdoor park space at 812 Chapel St.
June 15—Sept. 15, 2012.
Opening: Fri., June 15, 5—8 p.m., with a musical performance by Mira Stroika.
Artspace press release
Interdisciplinary artist Leeza Meksin
installs Flossing the Lot,
a new site-specific outdoor installation, and the last in a series of public works all employing custom-designed, printed spandex of huge metallic gold chains on a gleaming white background. The chain link pattern symbolizes many—at times contradictory—ideas such as community building, wealth, adornment, incarceration and continuity. When placed in a new geographic context, the print transforms
itself and the location, creating a playful urban space for new connections, associations and encounters.
The New Haven installation will be comprised of large abstract forms, stretching across the surrounding walls of The Lot, referencing New Haven's Historic Corset Factory as well as jewelry displays, ceremonial garb, and bondage. The billowing spandex banners will be “chained” to the exterior walls of The Lot, and weighed down with sand bags in flashy cozies. The gold and brightly colored "balls" will evoke the ways bags are displayed in stores, as well as the more literal "ball & chain" of imprisonment. The gold link motif re-used at the busy corner of Orange and Chapel St. will fit almost seamlessly into the lively intersection flanked by businesses and stores ranging from Sassy to thrift and dollar stores.Meksin
’s personal history of migration and cultural dysphoria made her keenly aware of the magical potential of carnival and role-reversal in creating a forum for meaningful interactions between members of any community. As a gay woman and an immigrant, Meksin dresses up buildings and public spaces in entertaining and voluptuous outfits, implementing drag as a symbol of marginalized cultures, marked with struggle, transformation and ostentatiousness. The masquerade aesthetic of Drag embodies the playful and irreverent spirit of Meksin’s public art works.
Meksin’s previous public art installations with the chain motif included House Coat
in 2011 where she transformed a quaint, two-story row house on an inner-city street of St. Louis, MO by giving it a new spandex outfit; and Sad Side of the Street
, an installation in the former NY Public Library, the Donnell, across the street from the MOMA that took place before the building’s demolition. With the final installment in New Haven, Meksin explores how "Flossing," "Fabulousness," "Drag," and "Bling" in marginalized communities relate to the history of bondage, slavery and spiritual freedom.
Meksin’s installations invite people to explore urban spaces in new and playful ways. A videographer will be present during the installation and opening party to record the neighborhood’s impressions and opinions. People are invited to stop by during the installation process (June 12-15) to ask questions, discuss the project, and provide feedback which will become part of the project itself. The opening night will feature a performance by the stunning cabaret singer Mira Stroika
, and visitors are invited to don a costume in exchange for a free drink. The event will be free and open to the public.
Elizaveta (Leeza) Meksin is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist who makes paintings, installations, public art and multiples. Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Leeza immigrated to the United States in 1989. She received a BA’99 in Comparative Literature and MA'00 in the Humanities, both from the University of Chicago; a BFA'05 from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MFA'07 in Painting from the Yale School of Art. Meksin, recipient of the Robert Schoelkopf Fellowship and the Soros Foundation Grant, has exhibited her work in numerous venues throughout the United States, and has been teaching at Tyler School of Art since 2007. Currently, Meksin is an artist-in-residence at Chashama’s Brooklyn Army Terminal, and holds a Visiting Faculty position at Ohio State University where she will be mounting a solo show of recent work in August, 2012.
Chanteuse-songwriter Mira Stroika
is a fixture in New York's neo-cabaret and indie music scene. Armed with a flirtatious wit, a riveting voice, and a soulfulness one normally associates with performers of yesteryears, Stroika offers up jaw-dropping interpretations of the classics and original and infectious pop songwriting on subjects as far ranging as Reality TV, UFO's and mortality. A classically trained vocalist, pianist, composer and accordionist, Stroika's highly theatrical performances fuse Western pop sensibilities with Eastern European folk, and French and German cabaret influences. The daughter of immigrants, Stroika graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and holds a masters from Tisch in interactive media and performance.
Labels: Artspace, installation art, Leeza Meksin, Mira Stroika, The Lot