Some readers may recall that at last year’s edition of NADA’s Miami Beach art fair, no less than three exhibitors showed up with artworks that took the form of oversized articles of clothing—a fleece jacket by James Viscardi at The Sunday Painter, a sporty polo by Jose Lerma at Roberto Paradise, and an ink-splattered glove by Amanda Ross-Ho at Shane Campbell.
Those looking for an ancestor to the genre can find it at the SP-Arte fair in São Paulo right now, at the booth of hometown gallery Arte 57–Renato Magalhães Gouvêa Jr., which is presenting a menacingly large suit and tie with a slightly stained white shirt. Fittingly titled Paléto (Spectre), it is by the Brazilian artist Nelson Leirner and dates to 1969, the same year he joined with a number of artists to boycott the Bienal de São Paulo to protest the country’s reigning right-wing military government. On opening day, the piece was available for R$400,000 (or about US$131,500 at the current exchange rate.).
Joseph Beuys’s (regular-sized) felt-suit multiple comes to mind looking at Leirner’s work, though that piece would not appear until 1970.