FLAX Project

Faux Pas

Opening reception: July 18, 7-10pm

A faux pas, of course, is per definition a false step, or indiscretion. The ‘do-not’ in every Vogue etiquette book. A slip of the tongue, or mispronunciation. Comme tu veux. More didactically, the faux-pas enacts a breach of etiquette, which in a rather équivoque interpretation, professes sudden potential for resistance. This is exemplified in the very un-chic concept of ‘dropping’, which is a kind of department store coup d’état: the act of taking an old, worn item—something very declassé—from a thrift store and re-placing it on, say, the racks of a Dior or YSL-boutique. Though trivial, it has a certain je ne sais quoi— a fruitless, but poignant, way of expressing one’s gauche-isms. Maybe even in art, where at worst, this type of faux pas could become the coup-de-grâce to an already suffering reputation. Tant pis, nothing to be done. At best, however, such indiscretions may be embodied by ideas, artworks, even chefs d’oeuvres, that seem self-evident, forceful, thought-provoking. At that, similarly to ’dropping’, at least in the sense popularized by the suburban jeunesse dorée through half-hearted ideologies and a daily dose of Winona Ryder, the art of faux pas becomes an opportunity for maladroit materialisms to meet and greet, like giving a bisou to an unsuspecting American or breaking one of Bob Nickas’ infamous art world rules.