Sunday Art Chat II

February 2, 2009

This week, I want to show you this artist named Cheryl Yun. First, some of her art:

 flyaway1Flyaway Babydoll with Suicide Hipsters I, 2005
U.S. Troops Get a Warm ‘Thank You’ From President Bush
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Materials: Archival inkjet on Gampi Tissue
Size 8

openhip1Open Hip Teddy with Suicide Rear I, 2005
Water Engulfed Much of New Orleans yesterday…
Wednesday, August 31, 2005 
Materials: Archival inkjet on Gampi Tissue
Size 8

gathered5Gathered Babydoll with Panties V, 2006
Rioting over Food in Argentina: Argentina’s economic crisis boiled over yesterday, 
with looters in Buenos Aires and across the country storming the stores and the president
declaring a 30-day state of siege. Four people were killed in the rioting. Page A3

Thursday, December 20, 2001 
Materials: Archival inkjet on Gampi Tissue
Size 8

flyaway5Flyaway Babydoll with Suicide Hipsters V, 2006
President Bush yesterday just before his speech at the United States 
Naval Academy counseling “time and patience” in the war in Iraq

Thursday, December 1, 2005
Materials: Archival inkjet on Gampi Tissue
Size 8

Now, from her statement:

What do I notice on the street? The boutiques along Fifth Avenue vie for my attention on my way to work. Sitting in the subway or on the bus, an ad for a luxurious sweater seduces me. And it’s all reinforced when I read magazines at lunch, advertising art, clothes, food—all offered for my consumption.

Cheryl Yun Collection is a range of handbags, hand-crafted and featuring newspaper photographs of tragedy and catastrophe. From the anquished pictures of the bereaved to pictures of buildings destroyed by act of man or God, the severity of the featured images contrasts with the superficiality and the transience of fashion and consumer culture.

I was particularly struck by this stuff because: One, they are such pretty little pieces–detailed, precise, and dainty!

Two, I have this personal battle–it’s actually a fairly intense inner moral war–between Spring the petty consumer and Spring the righteous revolutionary, that plays itself out in my mind constantly. I, like Yun, see images in advertising, and I am seduced. New tights, a new scarf, new boots, I want, I want, I want. But then there’s this little Joan of Arc/ Ani DiFranco/ Ida B. Wells philosophizer-fighter in me that wants to topple free market capitalism and all of its corporate kids because they exploit workers and steal resources and pollute our Earth for profit. 

So, what is a girl (or boy) to do? Sometimes I make my own fashionable items, sometimes I shop second-hand, sometimes I buy from artisan locals, sometimes I make sure the clothes are sweatshop-free or made through sustainable practices, but sometimes I just go to Target or Gap and grab some shit, ya know? 

But, now, I feel like I have another choice. I can look at this art that seems to reflect one of my struggles. I also started looking into other clothes made out of paper. Like:


Vintage maps and card 18 x 18 x 8 cm approx. jcpattern-paper-shoes2

Vintage dress making patterns and PVA glue

18 x 18 x 8 cm approx.

I can stare at how cool it all looks, and I can think about meaningful ideas, but I don’t have to be tempted to buy. Because it’s art! It’s just art! Yay art!

Artsily fartsily yours,



8 Responses to “Sunday Art Chat II”

  1. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Those first few definitely make me think about the nature of consumption. But I also see in them a statement about how interconnected we all are – about how we continue to wear (both figuratively and literally), in parts of our daily lives that may seem remote from it, the events of the world and our own government. Nice find, Spring!

  2. spring Says:

    i also feel a bit guilty for even thinking the lingerie and swimsuits are pretty. after all, they are patterns made from images of other people’s pain!

  3. Michael Says:

    I am totally in love with the shoes. I don’t even particularly love shoes all that much, but these are freaking pretty. As far as her other designs, wow! The blending of consumption and reports of pain just further exacerbates how much people exploit workers. Totally makes me think of the pain/turmoil that factory workers go through to mass produce clothes.

  4. spring Says:

    Michael, exactly…you put it so well.

  5. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Yes, I definitely feel guilty about that!

    I was thinking about this some more yesterday and realized that they are all clearly made in the style of clothes that only women would wear (well, except for the last pair of shoes) and clothes are so often primarily associated with women. So it seems like there’s a gendered aspect to it, too – perhaps the fact that so many sweatshop workers are/were always female? And/or the impact that the events in the titles have on women is so rarely evident when we can concentrate instead on women looking pretty?

  6. Daniel Says:

    Honestly, I can’t get over the coolness of the term “suicide hipsters”.

  7. Tara Says:

    Spring, I am loving all the new art you are introducing to me and the thoughful commentary! I listed this post today on my “Weekend Reads” on my blog!!

  8. spring Says:

    daniel- i know! i loved that term, too.

    tara- good, i’m glad you’re enjoying…i especially had you in mind when i posted this one. and, thanks, sweetie…i needed the compliment.

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