Ornament and Crime (and Crime) 

Installation shot

Installation shot

Ornament and Crime (and Crime)

Brandon Alvendia

Featuring the work of:
Conrad Bakker
Pamela Fraser
Michelle Grabner
Joe Grimm
Lucy Mackenzie
David Shrigley

ADDS DONNA is pleased to present the new work Ornament and Crime (and
Crime) by Brandon Alvendia.

November 7, 2010 - December 12, 2010
Opening Reception: November 7, 2010, 3 - 7 pm

The title of the work is based on an essay, “Ornament and Crime” written
in 1908 by the influential "modern" Austrian architect Adolf Loos. Loos
proclaims, "The evolution of culture marches with the elimination of
ornament from useful objects." Loos's "passion for smooth and precious
surfaces" informs a philosophy that ornamentation causes objects to go out
of style and thus become obsolete. To him, it was a crime to waste the
resources needed to add ornamentation, when the ornamentation would cause
the object to soon go out of vogue. Loos introduced a sense of the
"immorality" of ornament, describing it as "degenerate" and criminal, its
elimination as necessary for regulating modern society. His writings laid
the groundwork for the later ideology of the Bauhaus and modern

The work itself is an experiment in the act of collecting and curating as
a mode of artistic expression. The two-part, site-specific, multi-media
tableau exploits the capacity of objects to evoke an abstract narrative
through a complex web of associations. Upon entering the installation, the
viewer is greeted with the comfort of a minimally appointed salon,
featuring a small selection of art objects. Further inspection of the
installation reveals a second room (of a decidedly different “character”)
outfitted with traces of an alternate reality. The work complicates the
perceived value of art in the face of extreme systematic poverty, urban
blight and city-wide violent street crime by drawing into sharp contrast
artifacts from two parallel and distinct economic systems.

The complexity is found in the specific detail the artist developed for
the project, an artistic sensibility that allows layers of social and
political commentary to permeate within a uniquely contemplative space.
The highly attenuated selection of objects allows viewers to locate
themselves within the contradictions and social inequities caused by the
ideological forces dominating our urban culture. Society is plagued by an
ever-widening class stratification, the spectre of the military-industrial
prison complex, the futile and costly war on drugs, all symptoms of the
dysfunctional modern global capitalist reality. The work presents a
platform to satirize, demystify, and resist these forces by revealing them
as constructed realities or at the very least, acknowledging their shadowy