Brooklyn-based artist Leeza Meksin plans to give an historic brick structure in St. Louis a new skin – or rather a new set of clothes. House Coat proposes wrapping over 800 yards of spandex around the two-story building, complete with stylized “corset-like fixtures in the back, weights, [and] leather.”
Several unique challenges arise when trying to clothe something as large as a building. Meksin says ready-made patterns for such a House Coat tend to be scarce, but instead is spending two months preparing the bespoke garment in her Brooklyn studio. She chose an oversized print – large gold chains on semi-transparent white field – to relate back to the building’s scale.
The logic behind this pattern is multifold: (1) Cosign Projects of WUSTL’s Art Program 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 and gagged by its own design.
Meksin is inspired by the fluid elegance of fabric installations by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude but diverges as her preferred medium of stretch fabrics evokes the more modern dress of “drag queens and super heroes.”
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).
The installation will take place in Spring 2011 during the Southern Graphics Council International Conference with support from Washington University in St. Louis. While much of the $13,000 budget has been raised, Meksin has established a Kickstarter campaign to finish raising funds.
Via Lost at E Minor.