Come to A Night in the Chapel and The Mall with Jackie Blue, 2023

A two-part fashion showcase and exhibtion sale, the first of its kind at Bard College.

My collection of garments and accessories being sold at The Mall was conceived in Southern Italy.

I visited the home of my ancestors in August of 2022 for the first time. Relatively early in my presenting feminine, I proved to be a spectacle for the places I visited and their inhabitants. Days filled with gawking, pointing, and yelling; the attention was not new to me, just in this case I couldn’t understand what my viewers were saying. Only at night, after the locals got drunk and the lights were dimmed did I sort of blend in with the other big-nosed wiry women roaming the streets of Calabria with me. It was an odd position to be in, for sure, but it allowed me to exist singularly and instinctually for a while. Traveling with my mom and sister, who did not receive these stares, I frequently went out on my own to explore. I found that I kept gravitating toward the same two places in these moments of discomfort. The places I found myself instinctively entering were 1. Churches and 2. Shopping malls.

Thinking retrospectively about these intuitive ventures, I realized that I wasn't ever being noticed in these settings. In the churches, Catholic frequenters were too focused on praying to notice me walking by. And in the malls, I found that because there were so many people, all enthralled by the mall’s visuals of consumption, I was not at the top of their lists to stare at either. Although I wasn’t being noticed by the locals in these places, I still couldn’t shake this feeling that I was being watched over. This surveillance was transformed only when I decided to stare back at its source.

Physically, I learned that this stare was coming from the statues of Maria in the churches, and from the faces of mannequins in the malls. Metaphysically, I learned that this gaze was actually my own.

When I stared back at one of these forms, I first only felt the impermeable nature of its ceramic or plastic make up. After about thirty seconds, my stare’s source became abstracted. Maria and the mannequin transitioned out of objectiveness and into reflectiveness. My visual consciousness became superimposed onto my subjects and I ultimately switched places with them. I became them. These humanoid forms acted as vessels for me to see myself through and in these moments, surrounded by binary Italy and its forces of isolation, I fell in love with what I saw.

God’s image of a young Gaga basking in her potential. I couldn’t be luckier.

A Night in the Chapel acts as a culminating moment for all of these metaphysical happenings of self and God to be created into a collection of physical objects for the masses to see and absorb.

The Mall harps on the fact that I was never truly exposed to fine art as a kid but rather found inspiration for creativity when I frequented my local shopping mall with my mom weekly.

The two in tandem tell a story of self.

*Click either poster to be brought to their respected pages