Thursday was opening day for Major League Baseball, and over at Wrigley Field, shortstop Nico Hoerner’s home run, caught by a lucky fan in the bleachers, helped the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5–4. Earlier in the day, what appeared to be the Cubs’ mascot, Clark, the bear cub, was seen wandering the aisles of Expo Chicago, during the fair’s VIP preview, occasionally pausing to admire the artwork on view. On closer inspection, it wasn’t Clark at all. It was…the Detroit Tigers mascot, Paws, wearing a Cubs uniform? What kind of mascot was this?
In fact, the walking stuffed animal suit was donned by artist Monsieur Zohore, who was in performance-art mode. This became apparent to ARTnews when he sat down at the table in the booth of New York’s Half Gallery, tiger head at this feet, leaning back in his chair next to a gallery colleague like he ran the place. In the booth, Zohore was surrounded by his own paintings, one of which, a dead giveaway to any eagle-eyed art viewer wondering who the strange mascot was, contained an image of the real Clark waving at fans.
Zohore, who is based in New York and Richmond, Virginia, where he’s a painting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said his mascot performance is meant to “conflate a bunch of archetypes” to create “a confused critique of culture.” This is not the first time Zohore has done such a thing at an art fair. At the NADA fair in Miami last December, he hired eight men to dress up in togas and set up a beer pong tournament. When told about a piece by Dora Budor where she deployed a Leonardo DiCaprio look-alike to walk around the 2017 edition of Frieze New York, appearing each day in the guise of a different character the actor had portrayed in a film (the Revenant was the most, let’s say, out of place), Zohore’s response was, “I guess I can’t do that now.”