Bari Zipperstein

Visiting artist lecture CU

Lucas Grund

Bari zipperstein is a contemporary artist that loves to deal with consumerism.  She has lived and worked the majority of her life in Los Angeles, California, and mainly worked in the realm of ceramics. Often her works are kitschy objects much like a person would find in an antiques shop or a curiosity store. Some of her pieces would go so far as to be exhibited within home design stores. This was all in her effort to reflect upon the consumer culture of Los Angeles.

In Bari’s lecture she talked a lengthy amount about her influences. She harkened back to the movie Return to Oz as one of the largest influences on her early career. This influence gave her ideas about how objects can be transformed. She also mentioned that her early life was influenced by her father. He was a collector of cookie jars and he took her along with him as he drove for miles upon miles to reach some rare jar that he wanted to purchase. She harkened this experience to her love of Andy Warhol and his influence on her work, Which I feel is the greatest influence she has. Warhol’s  cookie jar collection in particular are very similar to the kind of pieces that she produces.

Many of Bari’s works as she explained, involve a large deal of planning and city paperwork, much like Christo and Jean-Claude, but obviously not to the same extent. She explained some of the hoops she had to jump through as she created her piece Recollected Looking for a Home, an installation piece that used an old abandoned building in a bad neighborhood of LA and turned it into something of an Antiques shop for glassware. Another piece that involved such planning as she explained was her piece This house has a bright future. This work involved getting permits to erect structures on a broken down plot of land that had not been used for years, again in a bad neighborhood.

While all of these works are well and good, the one that she discusses that really seemed to resonate with her theme to me was a piece she did entitled: Zippy’s knick knacks and magical tonics. This piece involved the school children of LA. She had them design a tonic or knick knack that she then put in a fictional store. The children were allowed to set the price of each individual object and design what it did. There were things like hair growth tonics or things that would make a person grow wings. It was all fun and definitely spoke to the consumerist ideals as most of the children gave wildly exorbitant prices.

 Barri’s works definitely hit some heartstrings with what she explains as her intent. They definitely at some level speak to the consumerist nature of people within LA and the country. While some of her works give me a hard time seeing her intent, it definitely comes through in spades in others. 

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