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NEW YORK — Lauren du Pont has a larger-than-life personality, but it took Richard du Pont, her artist husband, to show everyone just how large. Cast in urethane, her sculpted image — ultra-thin, blond and strangely long-limbed — is part of his intriguing solo exhibition “Tomorrow Again” at the Caren Golden Fine Art Gallery in West Chelsea. She stands a towering 10 feet 2 inches tall. The artist also rendered himself in urethane, but his image is a more mortal 6 feet tall. The figures, both warped and eerily distorted, are encased in glass vitrines and are surrounded by du Pont’s intricate photo collages, which look like topographical maps.
“I began thinking about biology and evolution and anthropology,” says the artist. “I was thinking about projecting into the future what humans might look like.” He was also spending a lot of time at the Museum of Natural History and reading books about evolution and entropy.
“I wanted to take my interest in science fiction and base the show on the notion of anthropological display,” he explains. “Lauren does sort of look like a Margaret Mead of the future.”
To create the sculptures, both du Ponts had their heads laser-scanned. Then Richard manipulated and distorted the results on his computer and e-mailed his specifications to a special effects company in California where molds were fashioned out of resin. The heads were then shipped back to New York.
Not all of du Pont’s techniques are quite so high tech, however. “Someone came into the gallery and saw me going over the shirts with a lint roller,” he says.
But then, just because it was lint free, it doesn’t mean that Lauren was happy with the outfit Richard chose for her lanky stand-in. “That is not my body,” she said, greeting guests at the art opening last Thursday night. “And I would never wear those pants.”
Finding a generic look was all part of the artist’s plan. It’s in keeping with the second law of thermodynamics, after all. “Eventually, everybody will become more the same,” says du Pont. “It’s not survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the most adequate. There’s a leveling out of culture into one gray, neutral sameness. I was going for the Gap, Banana Republic.”
This story first appeared in the January 21, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Of course, while the eerie look of du Pont’s figures stunned his wife, others in the opening-night crowd were hoping to commission the artist to depict them similarly slim. “Everybody wants to be taller and thinner,” says du Pont. “They’re asking ‘could you make me really really skinny please?’”