Amazing paper dress work made by Greg Lauren
For artist Greg Lauren, a garment defines a person as much as the other way around. For example, a Cub Scout uniform is like a totem, marking the wearer as a would-be hero. “I was never a Cub Scout,” Lauren says. “[But] I knew that the shirts were endowed with some kind of heroic image. All the patches meant something, and made me feel proud to wear [the shirt as a child] even though I didn’t do the work to earn them.”
Lauren’s newest solo exhibition, “Alteration,” is on view through November 1 at the gallery space at 28 Wooster Street, which was recently home to the Guild & Greyshkul gallery. The installation includes 40 paper sculptures that Lauren hand-sewed into replica to-scale clothing using his mother’s old sewing machine. (Sewing runs in the family; Lauren is designer Ralph Lauren’s nephew.) Lauren re-created iconic pieces of clothing that he says defined him as he grew up. In addition the Cub Scout shirts, there is a Superman uniform, tuxedos, white shirts and a rack of ties. Taken in aggregate, the works address the dominant male archetypes that Lauren felt he had to aspire to as he developed into a man, he says.
“Every piece is not wearable, only because it is made out of paper,” Lauren says. “I wanted them to feel wearable and look durable. Every day someone comes in and is disappointed that they can’t try them on.”
Lauren’s past work is also steeped in themes of masculinity and heroism: in 2006, Lauren created the covers for a four-issue Batman story arc.
Making unwearable paper clothing — in effect neutralizing the identity-conferring power of garments — was an attempt at creating a new type of artifact, Lauren says. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to make something that felt like a statue of a man, that might be found in a couple thousand years’… Would that archetype still be around then?”
Lauren’s friends and family came out in support at his opening party on Thursday night. Parker Posey’s fluffy white dog stole some cuddles from Lauren’s wife, actress Elizabeth Berkley. Actors Gerard Butler, Samantha Mathis and Mark-Paul Gosselaar also made appearances.