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Stephen Sprouse’s Dayglo orange graffiti sweatshirt (1984) with blue graffiti lycra skirt (ca. 1985) and orange graffiti tights, left, and his "Heart of Glass" scan line dress (1977), with his Patti Hearst silkscreens (ca. 1977), at Deitch Projects
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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.