Bernadette at the opening of 2000 Wasted Years, the first retrospective of Bernadette Corporation at Artist's Space, New York. Photo Rachel Chandler-Guinness
The origins of Bernadette Corporation lie in the organization of parties in downtown New York, their mock incorporation and ambiguous branding strategies suggesting a slipperiness of intent that developed between 1995 and 1997 into a women’s fashion line. In keeping with the original premise that a corporation was “the perfect way to alienate alternative politically-correct types,” the image grammar of BC’s clothing and styling focused on the mass-produced sportswear styles of ethnic minorities ghettoized in the urban territories. At a time when the fashion industry was confronted with a DIY rebelliousness, BC took its cues from the political-literary wing of the historical avant-garde. They engaged in quotation, concepts, fictions, appropriation, provocation, hoaxes, and anti-artistic postures of crass commercialism.