Justen Ladda

Fashion Moda

Comic-book characters are a staple of American childhood. Boldly drawn, garishly colored heroes and villains people the imaginations of American children, crossing all barriers of class and race. Monster comics represent the darker, subconscious side of the mythology; the monster is usually a hero, goodness personified at heart but frightful to look upon. Justen Ladda’s rendering of the Marvel comic-book character “The Thing,” presented in conjunction with Fashion Moda in the South Bronx, is a phantasmagoric site piece that encompasses these archetypal childhood mythologies as well as the political and esthetic mythologies of poverty and Pop art. It is located in an abandoned school a few blocks from Fashion Moda’s storefront. An unusually powerful example of site-specific work, it would, in another, more properly art-world environment, become an illusionistic gimmick.

The school itself

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