Baltimore filmmaker and writer John Waters lives in an architect-designed house that’s approaching 100 years old, so it’s not surprising that he knows a thing or two about home improvement and remodeling. Now he’s sharing his perspective on the subject with an art exhibition entitled Home Improvements, which he curated for a new gallery in San Francisco called FraenkelLAB.
Home Improvements features the work of 13 artists, including Waters. All contributed pieces that in some way make a comment about remodeling or home repair, with an off-kilter sensibility. There’s a wall mounted toilet paper holder that substitutes silk chiffon for three ply sheets of Charmin. A floor mat that’s chained to the wall. A triptyph of orange sponges with surfaces that look like the craters of the moon. A collage of shopping bags saved from trips to home improvement stores.
According to the gallery, the works are intended to transform the mundane and pay tribute to ordinary domestic materials, such as shopping bags, a wall mirror, bath towels and staples. Some reveal unexpected aesthetic pleasure in overlooked fixtures of the home, such as a light switch or a breaker box.
Waters’ contribution is an S & M-themed baby stroller called Bill’s Stroller, 2014. It looks like an ordinary stroller from a distance and has ordinary baby stroller wheels. But it features logos from old New York sex clubs on the seat and sunshade portions and uses part of a black leather harness to strap baby in for the ride.
Waters rails against the ‘adult baby’ community in his stand-up shows and interviews, so this appears to be his revenge. The other artists, working in a wide range of media, include Martin Creed, Moyra Davey, Vincent Fecteau, Paul Gabrielli, gelitin, Paul Lee, Tony Matelli, Doug Padgett, Karin Sander, Gedi Sibony, Lily van der Stokker, and George Stoll.
Waters, who turned 70 in April, describes the exhibition as “a celebration of the low-tech concept of ‘remodeling.’ These twelve artists’ humble but surprisingly imperious paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings will hopefully make any serious property owner want to throw caution to the wind, pack up their living space, and start over.”
Home Improvements is the inaugural exhibit for the new gallery at 1632 Market Street, a satellite of Fraenkel Gallery at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco. It’s on view until May 28.