Puerto Rican artist Desi Santiago's interactive installation known at The Black Lords, a slick cocktail of art and experiential marketing, is set against the backdrop of the art deco Lords South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach for the duration of Art Basel Miami Beach.
The Black Lords transforms the historic gay boutique hotel into a ravenous black dog named Gypsy that often appears throughout the artist's work. A looming inflatable head overlooks the courtyard, menacing paws flank the entrance, and a whipping tail finds its way in the back.
Hotel guests are encouraged to participate in a multi-sensory ritual evoking the dark and macabre subculture Santiago is known for. They are able to interact with Gypsy by standing on a raised podium and asking Gypsy secret questions. With each question answered Gypsy moves her laser eyes, and growls a resounding "Yes", "No" or "Maybe" while an array of special effect lighting and blasts of smoke are ignited around the installation.
According to the organizers, Perrier® Presents: The Black Lords is the largest project in Desi Santiago's career, marking a certain "moment" in his fast rising status. Appropriately opening during Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami, and several other smaller art fairs during Miami Art Week, the installation will be one of the largest public art installations during this increasingly popular winter destination for the art elite and party-goers.
A New York City-based Puerto Rican visual and performance artist, Desi Santiago's artistic practice spans from 1990 to the present and is heavily influenced by subcultural scenes, with a strong foundation in NYC nightlife, and cross-over into fashion and art worlds. Santiago's work draws from, addresses, and utilizes the respective vocabularies and iconography of these worlds to create ceremonial experiences and relational performances, which deal with identity, exchange, and the duality of mourning/celebration. His practice is that of 'the host', wherein the body is the channel and receptor for circumstance, experience, and identities to pass through resulting in a visual vocabulary of object, installation, and performance. Santiago's large-scale installations often involve performative and theatrical platforms, richly layered with philosophical, historical and social references. Santiago received a MFA from Bard College. The artist's work has exhibited at 303 Gallery, Matthew Marks Gallery, D'Amelio Terras Gallery, Deitch Projects, MoMA PS1, Asia Song Society, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museé des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Santiago was recently profiled in the Style section of The New York Times. He is represented by Envoy Enterprises.
Lords South Beach Hotel Website