new-york

Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler

Michael Klein, Inc.

Naming is never innocent, and capitalist culture has habitually enhanced the appeal of mundane items by slapping clever labels on them. Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler examine such nomenclatures, highlighting the often outlandish, sometimes absurd fantasies they provoke. Buy into the romance and temporarily deny the banality of a life flattened into two dimensions by the steamroller of mass production. In Keep an Eye on Your Pickles, 1993, pickle jars carry the names of prefabricated houses marketed by Sears. “Princeton” evokes neo-Gothic granite solidity set amid azaleas and sloping lawns, “Ashland” the stately colonnade of a Southern plantation. Both disguise the fact that all 300 styles are designed for constricted suburban lots and constructed of budget-conscious mass-market materials.

For Eminent Domain, 1992, Ericson and Ziegler worked with the residents of a Chicago housing project to

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