At first glance, K8 Hardy‘s work might look like a Cindy Sherman knock-off. But a closer look reveals a more complex aesthetic rooted in gender role playing and fashion. To construct her images, Hardy rummages through thrift shops to find the most disparate clothes to piece together. The ways clothing acts as a definer and shaper of identity is one of the main subjects of her work.
K8 (pronounced Kate) Hardy is the founder of the zine Fashion Fashion, where she appears, sometimes with her sister Halie, in a series of provocative (and at times ridiculous) poses that seem to be pervasive in fashion magazines. While researching her work, it was surprising to find an article published in the New York Times last year under the Fashion & Style section, but apparently Hardy’s work appeals to both fashionistas and art enthusiasts.
Courtesy Reena Spaulings Fine Art
So can a visual artist be both an avid fashionista and a serious performance artist? With Hardy it seems that it is possible. Besides her hand-made zine, and collaborating with artists such as Fischerspooner as a fashion stylist, Hardy is also a video and performance artist that tackles issues related to feminism, gender role reversal, power and sexuality. For the video New Report (2005-2007) Hardy collaborates with Wynne Greenwood to play reporters Henry Stein-Acker-Hill and Henry Irrigary (fictional characters whose names reference prominent feminist theorists) for WKRH, a station whose catch phrase is “pregnant with information.” The artists, dressed in an attire most appropriate for lefty revolutionaries, deliver the most disparage news such as a bra burning incident and a friend’s anxiety condition. In 2007, Hardy and Greenwood performed New Report Live at the Tate Modern, where they addressed issues related to hierarchical structures including the Tate itself.
Photo: G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times
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