Fool’s Gold takes its name from iron pyrite, an inferior mineral that mimics the look of gold. In the namesake exhibition, Lakela Brown and Liona R. Nyariri take on this trope of fake gold to explore notions of wealth, status and how objects gain value through materiality. Both artists take stylistic cues from museum collections to recreate their (re) presentations of ancient artifacts.
Through the use of plaster – a material used to make fake replicas – Brown creates casts of fake gold jewelry made popular in the 80s and 90s by a predominantly Black American culture in the early beginnings of the Hip Hop era. The juxtaposition of the fake gold jewelry with the use of the plaster casts, creates a quagmire in how we think about the preservation of objects, how they are accumulated, and what is accumulated. Brown brings into question notions of the formal historicization of objects while addressing the erasure of Black American Culture and its complex history of value.
Nyariri is interested in the way language is built into objects to create a mythology that imbues them with value. She looks into the British Colonial project in Southern Africa and investigates how colonized areas were made attractive and presented as a commodity. Fool’s Gold aims to explore value through race, colonization, and language.
LaKela Brown was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where she attended the College for Creative Studies. She majored in Fine Arts, and earned her B.F.A. in 2005. Brown has exhibited been her work world-wide including: Lars Friedrich Gallery (Berlin, Germany), We Buy Gold (Brooklyn, NY), and NADA (Manhattan, NY). She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Liona R. Nyariri lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in Fine Art from Parsons The New School of Design and completed her Whitney Independent Study Program fellowship in 2017. Her work has been presented at Participant Inc, Long Island City Art Fair, Gallery Momo, Cape Town Month of Photography, Young Blood Gallery, AVA Gallery and others. She is the recipient of the ABSA Art and Life award as well as a top finalist for the Sasol New Signatures Award.