Skirt Chaser CAUGHT! Madame Butterfly, Set Free!
Guest and pal of E.V. Day, Kembra Pfahler, better known as the punk singer of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black; Kembra’s right elbow cocked towards artist E.V. Day (in white); E.V’s back turned is to singer Rufus Wainright (far right)
**All text and photos by Susan M. Kirschbaum
Artist provocateuse E.V. Day would scare the balls off most men, straight or gay. She’s suspended ruby hued thong panties in metallic shimmery spine webs. She’s fashioned clams (yes, real sea clams!) into sexual appendages. She’s cut up couture and blown it up in cage like structures (I can feel Valentino shaking.) Last I saw E.V’s work, she suspended two bridal gowns that were dueling. And now the New York City Opera has commissioned her to raid their costume closet and have at it. Boy, did she mix it up. At last night’s opening at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center, thirteen reinterpreted costumes of divas from Carmen and La Boheme to Don Giovanni and Madame Butterfly hung like ghosts above our heads. I bet they fly when the lights go down, all that angst and blood on their imaginary hands, staged to some of the most beautiful music ever created. E.V. encouraged guests to play dress up with the costumes she did not utilize, and we were handed a button powered camera shooter as we posed as matadors, queens, wenches, and jesters before lights and an ivory umbrella.
In E.V’s program notes, she states: “I make sculptures that transform familiar icons of women’s empowerment and entrapment into new objects that confound conventional readings of these cliches and constellate meaning in a range of emotions: anxiety, ecstasy, liberation, and realease.” All of that evaporated straight over my head. I was caught in between the nostalgic joy of a my six year old self allowed to romp in the queen’s clothes and the sheer visceral orgasm of wearing a hand stitched velvet jacket lined with shiny jeweled flowers.
The exhibit opens to the public on November 6th. If the sound of arias and the intricacies of fabric let loose on a modern feminine psyche as rich as E.V. Day’s turn you on the way it does me, you might just find yourself fencing a stranger down the Lincoln Center staircase.
From Manon, a copy of the golden gown worn by late soprano Beverly Sills, now a gossamer wing by E.V. Day