The house—as Carmen Maria Machado writes in her 2019 memoir Within the Dream Home, a queer love story gone rogue—“is rarely apolitical. It’s conceived, constructed, occupied, and policed by folks with energy, wants, and fears.” Through the peak of the pandemic, the Cottagecore life-style spoke to the wants and fears of many individuals sheltering in place, its leisurely diversions marking a quick interruption (if solely by power of circumstance) in the established order of relentless productiveness. Whereas Cottagecore has been criticized for circulating photos of nostalgia and for romanticizing historically gendered duties like baking and gardening, the pastoral aesthetic garnered lovers, the LGBTQ+ neighborhood amongst them. The group exhibition “Cottagecore” obliquely explores this cultural phenomenon and its fetishism of domesticity, craft, and agrestic greenery, exploring the convergence of area and identification by a queer lens.
The artists chosen right here play with Cottagecore tropes to various levels. Jesse Darling’s We Tried, 2019, plunges metal rods (usually used to bolster concrete) into blocky toes of white clay; the sculpture isn’t Cottagecore, although it shares its malaise with the modern constructed atmosphere. Edie Faux’s candy-colored gouaches resemble mosaics towards jet-black backgrounds: compositions of sheer reverie, not habitability. In the meantime, Benoît Piéron’s relationship to interiors is knowledgeable by experiences of childhood sickness and repeated hospital stays. In Paravent, 2022, a pallid patchwork of repurposed hospital sheets is inset inside a medical “privateness display screen”—too insubstantial to supply any real seclusion—whereas the wallpaper panel Baldosas Inmaculadas, 2012-2022, slyly merges medical iconography and ornamental patterning within the fashion of William Morris, who a century and a half in the past superior artisanal handicraft as a corrective to the alienation of business labor. Cottagecore’s critique of modernity, whereas substantive, additionally has its limits as a pattern, which—thought of from this later second within the pandemic—already looks like a relic of a bygone age.