The centerpiece of Paratore’s installation comprises a number of Tolix-inspired chairs and tables, symbols of a globalized and café-driven gentrification movement, which are arranged in an L-shape to fill up the entire main space. A suite of altered vacuum cleaners hang along the perimeter of this banquet-like setting, lining the gallery’s only accessible walkway. The artist has installed a café door to block off the kitchen and replaced the floor and window shades of the gallery to produce a monochromatic gray ground.
Paratore has imagined the installation as a restaurant sited within a residential context, part of a flourishing scene of artisanal eateries functioning on alternative and hyper-exclusive models. The works have been stylized to suggest that Paratore’s fictionalized business is about to go belly-up. He relates this story in a text accompanying the exhibition, a lifestyle feature of his past and present ventures conducted by Dan Kwon in Seoul, South Korea.
The text and works assemble a conceptual framework wherein gallery, home, and restaurant are seen together within the larger service economy, with each subscribed to interchangeable aesthetics, purposes, and survival techniques. Sociologists Cameron Macdonald and Carmen Sirianni used the term “emotional proletariat” in their book Working in the Service Economy to describe workers who must produce particular emotional states, “exercising labor wherein they are required to display friendliness and deference towards customers.” 1 Like the worker within the restaurant, proprietors within other types of economic spaces are charged a certain emotional toll when a calibrated liveliness is exchanged between client, cultural producer, and self. Barred from sitting, with chairs atop tables signaling closing time, the viewer here is placed in an inhospitable position, unable to take comfort.
Emotional Proletariat by Riccardo Paratore,
Park View, Los Angeles
Through July 1