Gilded cockroaches were submitted as commodities in a downtown commercial gallery. Displayed as precious jewels, the gilded cockroaches are objects of contemplation. Traditionally perceived as revolting, their countenance transformed by artistic cosmetics, they are now worthy of being recognized as works of art. Their existence mimics the real structure of commodities made for the gallery audience. The curator, negotiating between commercial and cultural value, chooses submissions that stand out from the mass. Like our stylish cockroaches, the artists chosen are worth their weight in gold. If monetarily worthless, artists must be theoretically interesting: they must validate the gallery’s decision to show their work. Reputation, career and future are held in check until the market proves all parties’ right to exist. By promoting creatures that are usually shunned by artists and gallery merchants alike, we wished to imply a common ground and a dependency. That is, by the structure of display, presentation and aura, even cockroaches can be transformed into high art. By allowing the cockroaches to exist as art objects, the gallery asserted its position as avant-garde.

Medium: cockroaches, gold leaf, jewelry boxes, pillows
Location: Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA