The anonymous blogger behind ‘Pop Culture Died in 2009’ talks us through Winona, Lilo and Britney in the ‘Nicole Richie’s Memorial Day BBQ’ exhibition
In the mid-00s, the tabloids were dominated by so many DUIs, affairs, and drug-related mishaps that it was barely possible to keep up. But one man has (even if retroactively) tried. The anonymous blogger behind Pop Culture Died in 2009 has amassed a huge archive of tabloids and an impressive knowledge of the ins and outs of every celebrity event, scandal, and socialite spat from the era that gave us Juicy Couture tracksuits and Kim Kardashian (then Paris Hilton’s biggest fan). Most recently he curated an exhibition exploring these scandals which is currently on show through September 10 at The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum.
The exhibit, called “Nicole Richie’s 2007 Memorial Day BBQ”, is inspired by the infamous event that ended in Mischa Barton’s hospitalisation, and on August 11 will feature a talk by the 19-year-old on The Evolution of the Scandal. It only opened on July 27, but it’s already had attention from Paris Hilton, who said that she was looking forward to it in a (now-deleted) tweet. It’s unclear as to why she rescinded her interest, but she did ask PCD2009 via DM what the exhibition was about, and he said that after what he told her he “doesn’t think she’ll be too interested.”
Images of Lindsay Lohan wearing an electronic ankle bracelet might seem an unusual choice to turn into art, but our current romanticisation for the noughties makes a lot of sense. Circa 2006, when a lot of these scandals took place, the world was simpler and less self-aware. Fashion was unashamedly hideous. We all used social media, but we weren’t so aware of its impacts and dangers; celebrities would share their most private thoughts and spats via Myspace. Sidekicks were hacked. Socialites were unapologetically horribly behaved, and in a pre-Britney and Amy world, we could still laugh about it in good conscience. In 2017, things are a whole lot more self-conscious and complicated, and it’s no wonder we want to wrap ourselves in a safe blanket of nostalgia for the ugliest decade. The pieces on display at the exhibiton, chosen by PCD2009, depict the decade's messiest moments. They are all by visual artists equally obsessed with revisiting the 00s, including Laura Collins (who is represented by the museum), POP ÆSTHETE, and Valerie Petrov. In celebration of the exhibition’s opening weekend and all things 2006, we asked Pop Culture Died in 2009 to curate five pieces from the exhibit that truly capture the magic of the era.
“Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton In A Car” By Laura Collins
Whenever I see pictures from this night, I remember the Post headline: “Bimbo Summit.” While it was PR-arranged – thank you, Elliot Mintz – it was still fun to see the three most maligned women of 2006 together in one car, destined for disaster.
“Lindsay Lohan Posing In A Bikini And Ankle Monitor” By Laura Collins
The photograph of Lindsay this portrait is based off of was taken days before her second DUI bust in July 2007. She’d been just over a week fresh from her stint at Promises, and spent most of her days lounging at a beach house in Malibu, voluntarily wearing a SCRAM bracelet to tell the world: “Hey! I'm really sober this time!” Unfortunately, it didn't stop her from getting in a wild car chase with her ex-assistant’s mom nights later and bombing a field sobriety test.
“Winona” By Valerie Petrov
I feel as if Winona paved the way for the other girls featured in this exhibit. She was shoplifting, and spilling pills all over the floor of Saks, before it was trendy – and this moment when a prosecutor’s slamming her for bringing up the Polly Klaas case as part of her defence is priceless.
“Dear Justin” By POP ÆSTHETE
Poor Janet – anyone who has to breathe the same air as Justin Timberlake has my full support.
“Calligraphy” By Heather Rohnert
Instead of being based off of a photograph, like the other moments, this calligraphy piece is inspired by Nicole Richie’s statement to Ryan Seacrest, days after her Memorial Day bash-from-hell in which Mischa Barton exited the party on a stretcher… in true Marissa Cooper style.