In the late sixties installation art was not making headlines like it is now. It was only artists like Ed Keinolz, Dan Flavin Red Grooms along with their tableaux that had been making headway in this field. In the UK with the rise of Saatchi artists (YBAs) installations became flavour of the 1990's. The 'retail hungry' Museum industry bought into Installation art. Media hype and charge 'em at the turnstiles and throw in some upscale merchandising. All of this becomes a formula for success in a world of Guggenheim and Tate Galleries Franchise's.
Canal Jean store dressing room
New York City 1980
'Stan Peskett stages a clothing store's dressing room where the customers are part of the act' Andrea Loukin Interior Design
Fiorucci store Galleria Passerella Milano 1970-72
The artist saw an opportunity of taking the concept of Pop art into a non museum world when he was invited to design the first Fiorucci store in Milan in 1970. He was impressed by Bert Stern's New York Pop Shop, which sold Litchenstein wallpaper, and other pop artists products and used pop art as it's central theme. The work of Rip Off Press (R Crumb etc) in San Francisco was an inspiration also.
Europe needed a direction in retailing that was more forward thinking, not to be like Biba (nostalgia driven) which was being grown with the support of a major German drug company for it's cosmetic division. It fizzled in a few years. Fiorucci went onto become a world franchise operation with what the artist had envisioned. In the late seventies and early eighties Fiorucci hooked itself into the New York downtown art scene. The Film Downtown 81he backed starring Basquiat playing himself in 1981, was finally edited and released in 2001. In 1979 Fiorucci PR Sara was talking the artist into creating a calendar for the company (see media) It was the end of the artist's connection with Fiorucci.
Using his experience as art director for Fiorucci the artist would continue to create retail spaces that would eventually have him termed as a 'visionary eclectic' because of the broad range of narratives he could develop into themed environment.
Murals and craft would always as they do now play a key role in all of the artist's output.
Tatlers Cafe London 1971
Nostalgia /Fern Bar for a 'Retro Hip' London South Kensington set to sip tea and Prittle Prattle.
Insipration: Terence Rattigan's play Seperate Tables.
Flocking London 1971
Pianos, elements for Fiorucci's store, part of Christiphor Ward tactile 'Sweet Dreams Interior'as well as a ultramarine flocked walls floor ceiling complete with furniture down to telephone interior space in Fulham London. Inspiration Yves Klein
Clarence House 1974
Wallpaper designed by the artist and incorporated into a banana plantation window diorama for Clarence Houses’ East 57th street New York showroom.
Claret's Restaurant New York 1979
(see murals and trompe loel)
Canal Zone 1978-79
Canal Zone was a 5000 sq ft loft space on Greenwich and Canal Street. It was originally a designated as a setting to rehearse a musical/theatrical/TV production (a TV based Rocky Horror Show) A reality game show where participants would be humiliated and intimidated on TV. The Media becomes a power force like the church who's Pope Father figure is Mind Trap.
This became a reality in 1990 twelve years later when he designed a production space for British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) for their News Division see New Era the layout was identical approx. the same amount of shooting space. This was swallowed up by Sky. (News International's UK equivilant of Fox News). The title of the production was ZX.
This was being financed by William Waldron who had financed previous projects with the artist. Waldron pulled out after four months into the project. What followed can be seen on 'The Guy' site with the first major Graffitti launching event that promoted the Fab Five and Jean Michel Basquiat and Hip Hop.
The Finale for the Canal Zone was when the Geodesic Dome commissioned by the
British Based Festival for the Mind Body and Sprit was consumed by fire along
with Basquiat's and Lee Quinones's work which was in the space when it happened.
The artist did not witness the fire first hand. The festival's organizers were
taking drugs and having financial differences and this led to the torching.
Graham Clark the founder of the festival fled New York. All of this put a stop to making the UK annual festival a fixture in the US
(see The Guy)
Braathen Gallozzi Installation New York City 1981
The artist salvaged sections of the framework that weren't totally burnt and created an installation in the first real Gallery that Guiluame Gallozzi had in New York on Duane St in NYC the summer of 1981. The first gallery Gallozzi tried to open in 1980 was part Rudolph's first New York club Pravda, this was open for one night only. Gallozzi shared the Duane Street Locale with Babara Braathen.
The Installation was entitled The Fool's Paradise at the Eleventh Hour. It was a concept about a fire that was on the drawing board months before the fire in The Canal Zone. The artist had already envisioned a Marathon Runner running with a match, along with 'matchheaded' men.
The columns were the anchor elements to evoke the columned space of the Canal Zone. The triangular segments were parts of the original dome and had bases added and canvas skins stretched over them, then painted with saturated air brushed colours that show a time progression. This went from dark to light like the changing seasons of the original dome.
Dan Dunphy who the artist was getting to know at the time started to plan a written piece which evolved into a limited edition book 'Fool's paradise eleventh hour' that was finally realized in 1988.
Studio 54 NYC 1981.
The second New York Night Club/Disc that the artist was to create themes for, the first being for Trax in 1976 a Rock and Roll Supper Club also in Manhattan. Trax was the first night club to have a vetting process at the door because of their celebrity clientele, Studio followed suit in 1978.
Last Days of Studio 54, was the theme that the artist developed with Karen Bacon of Events, for a Halloween party in 1981. The artist can be seen executing faux crumbling masonry for the bar area, as well as the ceiling mural for the same spot.
Danceteria NYC 1985
The artist had returned form California in late 1984 and set up a studio in the Hamptons Long Island and this was one his first projects created from that base. His daughter Georgia also an artist collaborated on this. Rudolf who the artist befriended before Danceteria a successful nightclub formula was established. In 1979 Rudolf made a proposal to set up the night club section for the Canal Zone the multi media arts space the artist was creating. This was when Rudolf first arrived from Brazil. (more on Canal Zone check the Guy and launching of Graffiti Art).
Ivory Towers the Beginning of the End
Early in 1984 the painted Towering Terror a premonition of 9/11, this inspired the Installation that depicts the following:
The Project took a month to prepare and one week to install. The elements included making the central D.J. Booth into a Teutonic dark reptilian Tank mutoid either side of which were two mutant turtle sirens/divas carrying architectural aspects of the city on their backs. Suspended above the dance floor were carnival type heads with light up eyes which leered laughed and were supposed to frighten the revelers. At the opposite end of the 60 ft space was a virgin rising rising in a in a reverse splash from a pool surround by Easter Island Heads reminiscent of ‘Susannah and the Elders”. The Isle of Chaos NYC another of Ivory Towers themes showed “Triumph of the Will Yuppies disappearing into Oblivion whilst the shackled slaves emerge into a new found freedom.
Grand Central Station NYC 1988.
Chorus at Dawn (see public art 1)
House of William Blake London 1994.
This location on South Molton Street in the ‘West End’ section of London is where Blake lived in the late eighteenth century.
Holy Thursday William Blake’s Poem from ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ was the inspiration for this scene of a section London where the Artist grew up, and the cemetery is where his step father was buried. This location is also a stones throw from where John Major was born (behind the sewage works).
The Poem refers to child poverty, and how the impoverished are fed with cold usurous hand. The Iraq situation is not dissimilar with The Carlyle Group’s profiting from the debt incurred by Saddam Hussein (John Major is part of the Carlyle Group).