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Lynnette Astaire’s American Gothic

The Chicago artist and Married To The Mob photographer presents her JFK and Marilyn Monroe send up.

Her subversive art and straight talking photography has taken her from Chicago to Colette (check her sell-out t-shirt collaboration with Married To The Mob), and from Brooklyn to Bond Street. Lynnette Astaire recently landed in London for the first time to perform her “performance art piece, pub stunt, shitshow” American Gothic, a send up of iconic American culture featuring a July 4 street performance. Lynnette set up shop in Bond Street selling her mock DVD art piece featuring the assassination of JFK and Marilyn Monroe’s Happy Birthday Mr President, for £99. It won’t surprise you that the majority of London’s sour-faced Saturday shopping public weren’t suitably impressed, however Lynnette did convince one lucky Italian tourist to drop £99 on a slice of fake, bootleg DVD video art. Dazed Digital caught up with Lynnette over a milkshake and veggie burger at an American diner...

Lynnette Astaire: (Laughs) I came all the way over here to sit in an American bar. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. I love it! But London rains too much. That’s not cool. My hair can’t handle this.

Dazed Digital: How did you find the London public?
Lynnette Astaire: People are really cynical. I’m cool with it, it was just really surprising. I thought we were bad, but I guess not! There’s a level of awareness around the world and I wanted to connect with that. I didn’t meet one American that day, but they probably didn’t want to stop when they did saw me.

DD: So what did it entail?
Lynnette Astaire: For a while I just let people just come to me. I’d wish people a happy 4th of July and ask how they were doing. I guess it’s a conversation between America and the UK but strangely, out of everybody the Italians loved it most. They were like, ‘I don’t understand, but I love it!’ They’re cool kids.

DD: So how’s Chicago?
Lynnette Astaire: It’s amazing. It’s not just a Midwestern town any more – from Obama to Kanye.

DD: And R Kelly?
Lynnette Astaire: “Trapped In The Closet” was a masterpiece. Fun fact, I was in one his videos! It’s not what you think! Actually, to make it sound even worse, I was in a R Kelly video in high school!

DD: Amazing!
Lynnette Astaire: When I was 16 I was in the orchestra and he was in town shooting ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and they needed an orchestra. Hype Williams was directing it!

DD: You've got to love the wet look concrete.
Lynnette Astaire: Yes! Wet on the concrete and vaseline on the ass. That was such an amazing time for music videos.

DD: Which brings us nicely along to your DVD.
Lynnette Astaire: It’s screwed versions of JFK’s assassination and Marilyn Monroe singing happy birthday to him. Massive American cultural references that I think some people may have forgotten. You know the Altermodern exhibition at the Tate, it’s a similar concept – artists are remixing ideas that already exist into something new. To be a young artist today is amazing because there’s no expectations. It feels like the Wild Wild West in regards to art and culture. There’s no agenda, it’s just a free for all. Selling your shit in the street. Putting video art on the street. It’s crazy – the good, the bad and the ugly, I feel like a Desperado.

American Gothic