Around noon today, a number of people were waiting in a line next to a long rack of clothing near the north entrance of Frieze New York. A sample sale? Sort of. Mexico City–based artist Pia Camil has sewn some 800 ponchos, jackets, and capes from factory leftovers that are free for all comers. It’s part of the Frieze Project section organized by Cecilia Alemani.
“It’s mostly fabric that I bought—misprints or things have defects and were not used,” Camil said, wearing an elegant pink-striped poncho she made. “Some of my work has to do with byproducts of consumer culture—I did a big series on abandoned billboards—and this is kind of a more personal take on that idea, and the fact that they can be recycled and worn.”
The work is titled Wearing Watching, and takes as its inspiration from Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica’s parangole series of wearable pieces. Some are better fitting than others, but they are all pretty handsome—wild mixtures of stripes and patterns and solids. I am pretty pleased with mine.
“The whole idea is to set it within the context of a fair and see what kind of dynamics that generates,” Camil said. People were really getting into it—trying on different pieces, modeling for friends, taking photos of themselves, while Camil snapped the action with a camera. Those in line waited nervously, hoping that no one would snatch up the pieces they had their eyes on.
The garments went quickly. But not to worry—the artist is giving away a batch each day of the fair, at noon and 3 p.m.
Those looking to spend money on a Camil can head to the Blum & Poe, of Los Angeles, Tokyo, and New York, or Instituto de Visión, of Bogotà, Colombia, where she has work for sale.