Artwork Detail

Austrian, b. Kenya, 1962
Wool, cotton, and loden
108 7/8 x 110 3/8 x 1 3/8 "
University purchase, Parsons Fund, and with funds from Mrs. Mark C. Steinberg, by exchange, 2003
WU 2003.0007
Cosima von Bonin works with a wide variety of forms and materials, ranging from textile paintings to oversized plush toys, from electronic music to video, from performance to social relations. Her art may look playful, but she interweaves a complex and sometimes puzzling mix of connections that call into question a range of sociopolitical issues. In the center of Rockstars, one of von Bonin’s large-scale fabric works, is a circle alluding to the form of an album or compact disc; stitched onto this circle are fragmented outlines of two faces. The image recalls the cover of the 1975 eponymous “silver album” by the American pop stars Daryl Hall and John Oates. The gender-bending performance at play on the album cover and the note stitched down the left side of von Bonin’s canvas (“2 Sissie Boys from Heidelberg”) draw the viewer’s attention toward gay culture’s penchant for kitsch and camp and a 1990s sensibility of queer. Rockstars exemplifies von Bonin’s overall approach of both establishing and unsettling meaning by looping together different discursive fields, with each loop opening up new worlds by revisiting what seems all too familiar. [Permanent collection label, 2017]