Recut: Martín Ramírez + dosa mercantile

Recut: Martín Ramírez + dosa mercantile


Los Angeles, CA

This installation was an experiment in combining art and commerce. I wanted to provide a way for visitors to take home unique works in dialogue with ICA LA’s exhibition, Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation, extending the museum experience into daily life.

In 1979, I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where designer Hans (Nick) Roericht’s TC 100 dishes were exhibited from the museum’s design collection. In the MoMA café, food was served on the same dishes, and in the museum shop I purchased espresso cups and saucers from the TC 100 series. As these dishes became part of my personal life, they operated as both works of art and objects of everyday use, and continued to evoke my experience at the museum.

I hoped to provide a similar opportunity, creating a space to linger and discover, offering goods of enduring value that serve as reminders of ICA LA’s inaugural exhibition. Ramírez’s method of layering and adhering found materials informed my concept for this immersive installation. The walls were covered in layers of newspaper, magazine pages, bookbinding cloth, and papel picado, and the ceiling was set alight with traditional jícaras from Juchitán, Oaxaca.

The dosa merchandise reflected Ramírez’s palette and process through a combination of handwork and recycled materials. We collaborated with two workshops in Oaxaca, El Taller Arte Papel and El Artesano Taller de Papel, to produce handmade, hand-cut paper. Textile products were made both at 360 FT, a workshop in India, and at our studio in downtown Los Angeles. The installation honored the skill and labor of the artisans, whose craftsmanship is both time-intensive and resource-efficient. The resulting installation was a celebration of both Ramírez’s creative achievements and the craftspeople who continue to advance resourceful design practices. ­­

Installation view of Martín Ramírez: His Life in Pictures, Another Interpretation, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), September 9–December 31, 2017 | photo by Brian Forrest
Martín Ramírez's Untitled (Train and Tunnel), c. 1960-63 | image courtesy of Ricco/Maresca Gallery NYC, © Estate Of Martin Ramirez
detail of the surface of Ramírez's drawing
working drawings + materials for the first two layers of the wall installation
tools + supplies for the wall installation
applying recycled newspapers and recycled dosa printed matter
recycled magazine pages were collected and sorted by color
development of organdy fabric cut-outs and preparation of wall panels
installing wall panels made using cheesecloth, organdy fabric cut-outs, and handmade papel picado
papel picado inspired by Martin Ramirez's drawings handmade by Artesano Taller de Papel using ixtle, pochote, and cotton
jícara seives from Juchitán, Oaxaca lighting the ceiling
60 lbs of scrap canvas was saved and sorted by size and color to begin patchwork for the dressing tent. 9.3 lbs were used in the finished piece.
clothing and general merchandise inspired by Ramírez's drawings and color pallette | photo by Yoshihiro Makino (right).
photo by Yoshihiro Makino
photowall sharing the development of the project | photo by Yoshihiro Makino