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"Stephen Sprouse, Rock on Mars" at Deitch Projects, installation view
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by Charlie Finch

Stephen Sprouse was a dud when he was alive, and now, in a historical show of his ratty, derivative designs at Deitch Projects' Wooster Street space, he's a dead dud.

Sprouse was forever stealing not-very-interesting motifs from such as Rudi Gernreich and Jean-Michel Basquiat, dumbing them down in cheap fabric and then pretending that he thought up everything himself. A typical Women's Wear Daily article in the 1980s would trumpet a Sprouse show or boutique only to follow up with a smaller piece a few months later reporting that nothing sold, the backers went bankrupt and the space closed.