INSECURITY: I’m Trying to Tell You How I Feel (2009-2019) by Aaron Krach
Curated by Melinda Wang
April 26-28, 2019
In 2009, Aaron Krach presented his piece, “Indestructible Artifact #11 (Confidence),” at the Art Institute of Boston. It was later featured in Artforum and sold at the New Museum store. A play on the t-shirts worn by security guards, the work explored what then felt like precarious times – the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, a new president, wars on multiple fronts, a shocking jet crash into the Hudson River. . . And what does it mean to wear an honest, and perhaps humbling, statement so openly? Revisiting the piece 10 years later, and two years into the current presidential administration, Krach believes “insecurity” has taken on an exponentially more urgent meaning.
Others have evidently shared Krach’s sentiments. In 2016, he discovered the French fashion label, Vetements, selling an exact copy of the piece -- without permission, payment or attribution -- as part of its Fall/Winter 2016 collection. Since then, there has been a proliferation of copies (of copies) sold online and in street stalls.
The exhibition asks us to consider what security and insecurity mean today through new limited edition INSECURITY t-shirts, a handful from the original production and an archive of photos and documentation. It also invites us to examine the ever-growing issue of plagiarism, appropriation and global distribution in the fashion industry -- especially in the age of the Internet where subterfuge is standard, anonymity is the default assumption and originality is obscured. The artist considered remaking the shirts and sharing (and selling) them online to mark the 10th anniversary. But coming together face-to-face in an exhibition is a more meaningful attempt to tackle the challenges of living together.