The house of Maison Margiela has a long standing history of its, abstractionist, artisanal approach to design. From the ever-so iconic, all white atelier, to the deconstructed sustainable ethos of the brand’s rtw and artisanal Haute Couture lines—the Maison has consistently centered itself around pushing the zeitgeist forward, using art as their vehicle. To continue that same dadism-esque spirit, the Maison has collaborated with Baltimore-based art collective-duo, Wickerham + Lomax, to activate a new site specific installation. The Wickerham & Lomax installation at Maison Margiela’s Crosby Street store is part of an ongoing artist program. Previous installations included Nude Descending a Staircase No.3 by Marco Brambilla, Cardboard Monsters by Tom Pruitt, and Tabor Robak’s Jumbotron. The W+L piece, on view at the brands’ store in Soho, New York until January 7, 2022, uses mixed media to depict multiple bags; from the tote bag to the luxury bag. Wickerham + Lomax (W+L), is the collaborative name of artists Daniel Wickerham and Malcolm Lomax. W+L are new media artists focused on the impact of cultural practices and productions as formative structures on the individual and the collective. The art duo, since 2009, have been creating work that delves across various mediums— sculpture, digital imagery, video work etc— and often explores queer theory, marginalization, and connectivity. “We have admired the house and its evolving relationship to its codes and are deeply inspired by what they do” says the collective on their collaboration with Maison Margiela. Taking inspiration from an Ursula K. Le Guin essay, the duo uses the works on display at 1 Crosby street, to pay homage to the LGBTQIA club scene of their native Baltimore.
Ahead of the public unveiling of the site specific installation, GRAZIA Spoke to the new-media disciplined duo of Wickerham & Lomax all about the work, their prior work in the Baltimore gay club scene, their approach to merging fashion and visual art, and about a dream collaboration come true with Maison Margiela.
GRAZIA: Can you tell us more about the inspiration for the installation?
W+L: The instillation at Margiela’s Soho store was inspired by the visulation of handbags based on the loss of gay nightclubs in Baltimore City. We bridged some of the themes from our previous exhibition Domestic QT & The Spatial Anomalies where domesticity and cohabitation were central themes. The 3D rendered purses were based on household appliances. These appliances were then placed back into models of the demolition sites of these nightclubs attempting to reconcile the loss of businesses during COVID and the nation wide quarantine.
You both were involved in the club culture/gay club scene in Baltimore—How has that experience, translated into your practice?
We ran a small bar for nearly a year while also curating events at various local spots. What we learned from that experience was the distinction between life and art, and the amount of work that goes into something that has the potential to start to render itself as social practice and the red tape, investment, and time. We thought potentially the bar could become our work, but it did not. The work we did take on though was centered on thinking about the process of one’s individuation in relationship to society, the material and cultural practices these things create. And because of this, social spaces are a huge subject in the work. Afterwards, we moved back into our practice often trying to figure out ways to introduce more people and gestures.
How has this collaboration with Margiela been?
The collaboration has been a dream. We have admired the house and its evolving relationship to its codes and are deeply inspired by what they do.
“Fashion is always a point of departure for the practice. Consideration for the way a house functions and how it can be helmed by others is an idea we often talk about”
I lot of your practice stems from queer theory and with each piece of this installation titled after defunct Gay bars in Baltimore—what was the reasoning behind this?
We wanted to pay homage to these spaces that have contributed to Baltimore’s cultural landscape. They were formative spaces for a lot of people in the city.
With this collaboration, both you and Margiela are continuing the conversation of art x fashion collaborative spaces. How does fashion inspire your practice?
Fashion is always a point of departure for the practice. Consideration for the way a house functions and how it can be helmed by others is an idea we often talk about. We also create accessories for certain works and exhibitions so that during the reinstall the works can be subject to change. They can be readdressed.
What do you hope the viewer gets takes away from the installation?
We hope the viewer can see the deep consideration we had for the house’s interest in repurposing, deconstruction and raw elements.That this collaboration always made sense.
The artwork will be on view to the public from Thursday, October 28, 2021 until Friday, January 7, 2022 from 11am – 7PM daily at the Maison Margiela store in Soho, New York City—1 Crosby Street.
For more information on art collective, W+L, visit here.