Unbeknownst to much of the art world, ceramicist and painter Elisabeth Kley and downtown drag star and artist Tabboo! have been friends and collaborators for more than a decade. The two teamed up for a show at Gordon Robichaux this fall and Kley offers an exclusive print for the latest Cultured Commission.
“I spend hours in museums obsessively photographing anything I might use. When I get back to work after an epic trip—like the one I took last year to Rome and Naples—I begin by making drawings from the photos that catch my eye and then move the motifs into ceramics and wall paintings. I’ve found inspiration in sources including Coptic and Islamic textiles, Fortuny and Wiener Werkstätte design and South Pacific tapa cloth. Right now, I’m concentrating on Greece and Rome, mixed in with ancient Egypt. Men with Grapes is based on an image of a grape arbor on the shoulder of a vessel in the National Etruscan Museum in Rome. I’ll be painting a whole room for my two-person show with Tabboo! at Gordon Robichaux this fall—maybe I will put a similar border of grapes and leaves up near the ceiling. Last spring I saw a wonderful show about the influence of antiquity on Léon Bakst and the Ballet Russes. I like to think I’m contributing to that lineage.” —Elisabeth Kley
Elisabeth Kley’s Cultured Commission is available for purchase on 1stdibs.