Cheetos in the Expanded Field
SEPTEMBER–NOVEMBER 2011Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce Breanne Trammell’s window project, Cheetos in the Expanded Field. Trammell is the first artist to use the gallery windows as a three-dimensional display modeled on the ubiquitous, cluttered windows in the façades of bodegas, stationary stores, grocery stores, and drugstores across the country.
In the now-famous 1978 essay Sculpture in the Expanded Field, Rosalind Krauss presciently charted the course that sculpture would take in the next decades, with the advent of new technology and a new concept of space. Everything seemed possible—from video installations to earthworks—and she hypothesized the category of sculpture would become almost infinitely malleable. Trammell took note and conceptualizes her window displays, showcasing banal school supplies, junk food, and pop-culture items, as timely contemporary sculpture.
Trammell has often used pop culture in her work. Gossip Gulls, a video shown in the recent group exhibition, Tuesday (curated by amani olu), takes footage from the popular teen drama Gossip Girl and pairs it with the incessant squawking of sea gulls. She’s contemplated Babysitter’s Club books, cootie catchers, and Tori Spelling. And, in an ongoing TGIF project, she pairs iconic sitcom opening credits with dramatic, emotionally charged music from another popular sensation, Friday Night Lights. All of Trammell’s work is a reflection of youth culture, and an exploration of its relationships to the medium of fine art.
In Cheetos in the Expanded Field, she focuses on objects with specific meaning to her—an oversized Number 2 pencil from test-taking days, an oversized inspirational bookmark that reads “YOU ARE JUST LIKE YOUR DAD!” instead of the usual motivational cliché, and, of course, the Cheeto. The synthetically bright orange food item is Trammell’s obsession, creating decals, sculptures, and prints of the organically-shaped junk food. Its color and form inspire crocheted Cheetos, an oversized cylinder titled Organic Cheeto Cigarette, and bright orange friendship bracelets. The contents of the windows reflect objects of childhood obsession that relate to many, recreated larger than life.
In the background of each window, Trammell exhibits beautifully executed prints, layered atop one another. Her use of graphic pattern and color is tremendous and offers a brilliant setting for the objects. In one window, barely visible from the street, is a large swatch of paper modeled after the paper used to wrap flowers. Reproduced in the same typeface, the print reads “Say It With Flowers, Douchebag.” Trammell repeatedly takes emotional cliché and surprises us with a much more critical response. Her shifts in scale and text encourage the viewer to resist a quick read.
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