Josephine Meckseper b. 1964, Lilienthal, West Germany
Steel and glass vitrine, fluorescent lights, and acrylic sheet; taxidermied bird; glass and metal jewelry; digital inkjet print mounted on acrylic; glass, stainless steel and copper scouring pads, and feathers on steel pole; acrylic pedestal; mannequin leg and stocking; acrylic on framed mirror; acrylic on canvas; and mirror on metal stand
79 5/8 x 79 3/4 x 20 inches (202.2 x 202.6 x 50.8 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, Theodor and Isabella Dalenson, 2011
Josephine Meckseper co-opts commercial forms of presentation such as vitrines, window displays, and magazines to demonstrate how consumer culture influences subjectivity and society as a whole. The pristine, mass-market setup of Afrikan Spir is dotted with disparate objects—a taxidermied raven, a digital print of actress Tippi Hedren, a lacy black stocking—and decked in mirrors, glass, and steel. As visually alluring as a shop window, the work presents an amalgam of Hollywood tropes and considers how signifiers of the glamorous and the Gothic have become divested of their original meaning and are now simply part of mainstream American culture. Intended as a cutting criticism of the extravagances of American commercialism, it also crucially includes a small mounted mirror—reflecting back the visage of the viewer, embedding the visitor among so many things bought and sold.