Randall's Island, Manhattan, NY
Walking through the booths on Randall’s Island during Frieze Art Fair this weekend, you might have been surprised to see people who appeared to be getting facials, or were they donning Halloween masks? But the people at John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres’s temporary casting station were, in fact, part of the art on sale at the first New York edition of the British-born fair. The artistic duo spent the weekend casting in plaster the face of any patron willing to pay the $3,000 price tag, a measly sum in exchange for the capturing of one’s essence for all of eternity.
The project is a new installment of Ahearn and Torres’s "South Bronx Hall of Fame" of 1979, when the two casted the faces of 40 local neighbors, artists, and ne’er-do-wells from the area and displayed the painted shells in the alternative space Fashion Moda to much critical and popular recognition. 25 of those casts were on display in the live casting station as the pair worked to capture the fresh faces of contemporary visitors to the fair. Each person who chose to participate was placed in a metal chair, outfitted with a couple straws up the nostrils, and carefully slathered in molding gel, which quickly hardens into the plaster from which a cast is made. Ahearn and Torres took photos on which to base the painting of the casts and generally tried to keep their subjects comfortable, joking around and playing to the crowds that gathered to watch.
No totals yet on how many people participated or the number of straws used, but one thing is for sure: there’s no better way to feel connected to a piece than to be nearly smothered by it before you buy it!
We didn’t muster the courage to undergo any plaster, but with one day left of Frieze, you may still be able to catch them at work!