THE VIRGIN COLLECTION
The Virgin Collection combines performance, photography, video and sculpture to create a mock bridal showroom setting. Mixing diverse cultural references such as designer gown ads, the Gap and corporate branding, the installation acts as a send-up of consumer culture's obsession with wedlock while suggesting underlying sinister implications of power and representation.
The exhibition features an official Virgin Collection gown. Having designed his own line of bridal wear for men, Boyd's work merges disparate ideas of matrimony, virgin purity, fascism and fraternity into a form of cultural drag. A cross between traditional bridal wear and the garments of Nazarenos (Spanish fraternities that march during Holy Week processionals cloaked from head to foot) his gown comes off looking like a surreal Klansman’s wedding dress. In a series of photographs the artist displays his disconcerting attire while imitating mannequin-like poses from bridal advertisements, gestures that can be seen as a Queer critique of issues ranging from Defense-of-Marriage legislation to the alienation of gay identity and cultural difference from media culture. Through it all, these portraits maintain the formal attributes of 19th century salon portraiture.
Further implying dark undertones of racism, homophobia and homogeneity embedded in corporate advertising, the installation is completed by Boyd's own version of corporate branding. Display cases contain items such as engraved rings, a chef's knife and engraved champagne flutes along with Virgin Collection t-shirts and tote bags. Undermining the subliminal intentions of the bridal showroom, this installation instead engages viewers with the genesis of their own cultural ideals.
The installation is completed by a video suite including the faux promotional videos virginz in tees, 2001, (a parody of the Gap Ad “everybody in vests”) and the fast-paced advertisement absolutelyfabulousvirgincollection, 2003. Also featured is documentation from two solo performances by the artist, Fall Collection, performed at Schroeder Romero Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, 2002 and Spring Collection, performed at Galerie Chez Valentin in Paris, France, 2002.