At 11 pm sharp on the warm, breezy evening of June 7, 2012, a crowd gathered outside the Friedrichsplatz parking garage in Kassel, Germany, site of the 13th edition of Documenta. The moment the doors opened, hundreds of art-world patrons flooded inside the echoing, concrete structure, only to find it filled with smoke, blue light, pounding bass and a runway, all courtesy of New York-based artist Seth Price, the young man whose vacuum-formed polystyrene “paintings” have just begun to sell in the six figures, and American menswear designer Tim Hamilton, poised to debut a special spring-summer 2012 fashion line.
Part of Price’s larger Documenta contribution, Folklore U.S., which includes a series of paintings and fabric sculptures on display in the garage, the collection was inspired by military tailoring, and features a series of white garments -- hooded bomber jackets, flight suits and a trench coat -- all inscribed with bank-related logos in black, from PAYCHEX to FDIC to UBS. Could it be a connection between fashion and money?
Instead of streaming down the runway to demonstrate the way the clothing looks and feels on a living body in motion, Price’s models took their places and stopped dead still, turning outward to face the audience and standing there, silent, for 15 minutes, before exiting and re-entering again. Even members of the audience who were drunk on the free Absolut Vodka noticed that something was afoot. In Price’s darkly ironic world, the money makes the clothing that wears the people, not the other way around.
Artnet TV video by Stephanie Szerlip.
EMILY NATHAN is assistant editor of Artnet Magazine. She can be reached at