Young Blood‘s 1st Annual “Day of the Dead” show presented a fantastic collision of American and Mexican low culture, using Dia de los Muertes coffin shrines as framing devices for tributes to Hank Williams, mariachi, Jesus and Mary, mermaids, Tammy Faye, Elvis Presley, Frida Kahlo, and (of course) dozens of skeletons.
The show was organized by Buffi Aguero and Tracy Wagner of Tweet Design, who distributed identical miniature wooden coffins to about 50 fine artists, craftspeople, and graphic designers.
Though we generally avoid mentioning prices, I feel I should mention that the mean price for these finished coffins was between one and three hundred dollars. That price is about what I’d expect for a group show with so many participating artists, but it’s incredibly reasonable given the quality and detail of these pieces.
What do mermaids and the Day of the Dead have in common?
Rhinestones, glitter, and fake eyelashes were widely used throughout the show. It’s strange that we see a “shrine” as a chance to conjure an inflated memory of dead celebrities, rather than a way to honor realistic representations of loved ones.
More abstract representations of death made up about one quarter of the show’s pieces. Two of my favorites were Kumiko Kakinuma’s open dollhouse:
and Ana Balka’s cinema diorama, Go To the Light (named after the Lumière brothers):
(Can any of you identify the two images used inside Balka’s theater? I feel like I’ve seen the image “on screen” before, but I’m drawing a blank on that picture hanging on the wall.)