(noun) nonchalant absurdity with a dash of embarrassment.

(verb) to be shark bitten.

(adverb) in a manner that is nonchalantly absurd and embarrassing.


20 March 2013

The Poser Adapts: NYC to Costa Rica

Alter ego, performance artist, red carpet wannabe, call her what’d you like, but The Poser, created by artist Anne Grauso, more than anything, is socio-cultural commentary exposing and poking fun of the somewhat pathetic. Grauso’s years of observation and experience on the red carpets makes her the perfect person to tell this story. Using The Poser she recreates this cultural phenomenon, a comedic farce, that dynamically illustrates society’s obsession with the celebrity or those desperately trying to achieve celebrity status. The performance is part Warhol, touching upon his relationship between artistic practice and celebrity culture; it shows influences from the likes of Cindy Sherman and her chameleonesque self portraits, the witticisms of Molière, the philosophies of Guy Dubord, and, of course, E! Entertainment Fashion Police.

The Poser outside the Costa Rican Science and Cultural Center
Conceived in New York City, sometime last year, the recurring motif in every photograph of The Poser is the small, red carpet and the VIP velvet rope, a Chinatown steal, that follows her where ever she “appears”––the objects representing fame and importance, with the sole intention being self-promotion. Always toting around her large, digital camera and tripod, she desperately tries to create a social spectacle, and mostly fails doing so, yet this mimicry is quintessential to the character and performance. There is a smart relationship between The Poser and that of the modern woman who derives pleasure and identity through red carpet photographs at highly promoted events. Now, insert the irony. The thing is, The Poser is not at any high profile events, she is always on the outside, creating her own ancillary party, looking in, uninvited, pictured just outside of the limelight, creating tension and failure, and, ultimately delusion. The environment that surrounds The Poser is problematic; however, the viewer is invited to question the sociological implications of these “non-spaces” and the woman being photographed.

In NYC, the kingdom of consumerism, The Poser was photographed in mostly designer clothing and accessories, an overt statement that coincides with the city and its culture. However, Central America is far from our American consumer culture, and, given her move from NYC to San Juan, Costa Rica, The Poser has had to adapt. Grauso has changed the appearance of the character to relate to these circumstances: more make-up, less designer labels, and, more often, she is in a dark wig.



The Poser in Chelsea from Anne Grauso on Vimeo.

Grauso explains the dramatic difference in receptions of the performance given the distinct cultural environments: “The reaction to the live performances of The Poser [in Costa Rica] have been very different from the States. The public here tend to stand back and stare, in mild shock, quietly observing. No cell phone photos are taken. In fact, any photo taken, especially of people, is forbidden in public or viewed as highly suspicious behavior. Small crowds do form quickly though. I am preferring desolate locations––these still remain a reference to the non-space, or failure of The Poser.” As a foreigner and as a woman, Grauso admits to always being aware of danger. Grauso's looks contribute to this outsider effect: a tall, beautiful, fair skinned, red headed woman––quite the anomaly in a Costa Rican city, making the male gaze in this machismo society more inquisitive than it is intrusive. Why is this American here? And what the hell is she doing with that red carpet?


The Poser attending Twelve Cubed via Skype

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