That’s What Friends Are For, Studios INC, Kansas City, MO – 2013

This 5-channel video and photo piece depicts a tableau vivant come to life, in which a harmonized rendition of Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder’s “That’s What Friends Are For” is sung by nearly 200 characters in sync. The panels have each been altered by adding over 75 significant characters from pop culture chosen by myself, my mother and my grandmother – from Peggy Lee, The Lone Ranger and Charlie Chaplin to Flavor Flav, Pink Floyd, Mrs. Doubtfire, Elvira, Nicki Minaj and Mr. Peanut. In the middle panel of this pentaptych, I portray Missy Elliot as the central character, who sings the duet with Regan MacNeil of the Exorcist. Elliot was selected as an analogous representation of the Christ figure due to the significance of the black garbage bag costume she wore in her “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” music video.

This work, created over a two month period, was my largest-scale collaborative piece during a residency at Studios, Inc. in Kansas City, MO. Thirty volunteers aided in the creation of over 100 custom-made wigs, over 200 custom-made costumes, and a multitude of props and puppets.

Video Excerpts

Baum Catalog
New York Times
Kansas City Star
Studios, INC
Collector Daily

That’s What Friends Are For: Self-portrait as Christ/Missy Elliot in a re-creation of Fra Angelico’s Predella for the High Altarpiece of San Domenico, Fiesole 5-panel photograph 128” x 32” 5-channel video on loop, 04:15 2013

Installation Image 

Installation Image