MARCH 18 - APRIL 3, 2011
HOUSE COAT is a temporary site-specific installation that will take place in Spring 2011 in St. Louis, MO, and will involve the creation of a fitted spandex garment for a two-story row-house directed by Cosign Projects and curated by Lauren Frances Adams. Andrea Carey of LA LA Land is helping Leeza Meksin organize the logistics of this public art installation, while the artist's sister and filmmaker, Anya Meksin, will be video recording the installation process.
The official opening will be on March 18, 2011, from 4:00pm and throughout the evening.
HOUSE COAT, as the pun implies, refers both to the literal fact of the house getting a new covering (a face lift of sorts) as well as to the garment often worn by people indoors (i.e. the outfit that is specifically designed for a private sphere and not permitted an exterior use).
Given that the scale of a building is much larger than that of the human body -- and most ready-made patterns are designed with the human body in mind -- it was imperative for this project that the print’s scale related to the size of the architectural form. The pattern Meksin has designed with the help of the fabric designer, Ceci Davis, consists of large gold chains on a white, semi-transparent surface. The logic behind this pattern is multifold: (1) Cosign Projects is located in a depressed area of St. Louis, with multiple boarded-up houses surrounding it; (2) The gold on white motif makes frequent appearances in hip hop and pop culture as a sign of wealth and fabulousness; (3) The house, wrapped in gold chains, will flaunt itself to locals, while simultaneously finding itself bound by its own design.
Working within the tradition of such installation artists as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, this project is part of the artist's ongoing exploration of the visual potential of stretch fabrics. While Christo's projects, such as "Wrapped Reichstag," elegantly reference the culture of Ancient Greece and comment on structures of power and local jurisprudence, Meksin's spandex installations evoke the hyper-fitted garments worn by entertainers, drag queens, and super heroes. The idea of dressing houses and other staid architectural structures in racy outfits strikes a humorous chord rarely found within urban and suburban housing. With these installations, the artist is interested in exploring questions such as: (1) How does the life expectancy of a building material (i.e. brick or wood) affect our perceptions of durability, solidity, and hardiness; (2) What happens to large inanimate objects when they get dressed up in architectural “drag”; (3) How do pattern and decoration relate to questions of gender and sexuality?
To see more of Leeza's work, visit the website:
Leeza Meksin, 2011
Leeza Meksin is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist who makes installations, paintings, videos, films, sculptures and multiples. Meksin was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, and educated in the United States. She received a BA and MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago before continuing on to an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art. She is the recipient of the Robert Schoelkopf Fellowship and the Yale Collaborative Project Grant, and has had solo shows in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio. Recent venues include the Abington Arts Center, Regina Rex, and Columbia College. She has worked as a Production Designer on independent films in New York and has been awarded a documentary grant from the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation to co-direct a film about women struggling with drugs in Ukraine (BALKA). She is currently a faculty member at Tyler School of Art and Program Director at the New York Art Studio.
Press about 'House Coat':
KWMU's Cityscapes on NPR, 'House Coat,' with guests Lauren Adams, Leeza Meksin, and Jake Peterson, Hosted by Steve Potter, 3/25/11
Keaggy, Diane, 'Art Project Wraps Benton Park house in Spandex," St. Louis Post Dispatch, 3/23/11
Cooperman, Jeanette,"The House Coat Exhibit," STL Magazine 'Secretary of the Interior,' 3/18/2011
Garrison, Chad, "Spandex and Bling Wrap South St. Louis Home," 3/17/11
Fowler, Nancy, "Spandex Wrapped Home Coated with Meaning," 3/18/11
See more video of citizen responses to 'House Coat' on youtube.
The Creative Team:
Lauren Adams & Jake Peterson, Cosign Projects
Andrea Bitai & Ceci Davis, Graphic Design
Laura Divergilio & Andrea Fama, Planning & Development
Victoria Lewis, Pattern Pulse
Kathryn Lofton, Fabrication
Anya Meksin, Documentation
Meesha Meksin, Installation
Netta Sadovsky, Installation
Scott's Contracting, Safety and Common Sense
This project is made possible with the generous support from:
Esther & Victor Meksin
Andrea Carey Fama & Gene Fama
Ho Lim Song
Gregory & Nadya Iskakov
Meesh (the Kot)
Alec Wood & Rosemary O'Neill
Danny & Naomi Kayne
Isobel Schofield & Jacob Rhodes
Mary & Doug Earle
Betsy Odom & Kelli Connell
Rebecca Shore & Mark Rivers
Tara Ward & Justin Kasper
Lauren Adams & Jake Peterson
Mikhail Victorovich Meksin
Audrey Chen & Billie Mandle
Elizabeth Altenkirch & Raymond Daniel
Clint & Colae Jukkala
Alla Katnelson & Geoff McKonly
Anna & Slava Grinshpun
Anthony A Thompson
Good Citizen Gallery
Juan William Chavez
If you have questions or comments about this project, or would like to learn more about the artist or Cosign Projects, please email email@example.com
For questions about the permitting process, city code approval of HOUSE COAT, or general inquiries about legal issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to provide information about the public safety of this project.