The artist wears a dress of her own design. Photographed by Robert Nethery.

Susan Cianciolo Wants To Take You To Garment Rehab

The artists is a badass of all trades.

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Feb 8 2019, 2:01pm

The artist wears a dress of her own design. Photographed by Robert Nethery.

Radical love is an affirmation of life that radiates outwardly as joy and compassion for yourself and your community. For Issue 16, GARAGE profiled an eclectic group of artists, designers, and everyday citizens who have it in spades. Photographed by Robert Nethery. Sittings editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson.

Some artists create in order to extend themselves further out into the world, like a conqueror. Others build a world, like hammering out a home in which to invite their beloveds. Susan Cianciolo—who designed for red-carpet-ready label Badgley Mischka, managed Kim Gordon and Daisy von Furth’s X-Girl, and created her own fashion collection Run, all in the mid ’90s—could be an example of the latter. After presenting 11 Run collections over the course of six years, including housewares, and creating another eponymous fashion line in the early aughts, Cianciolo is bringing her defiantly humble, upcycled approach to the construction of startling and enchanting installations. Her 2017 exhibition at Bridget Donahue gallery, RUN PRAYER, RUN CAFÉ, RUN LIBRARY, featured not only an actual café (tea and cookies could be ordered off a menu), but also events like a D.I.Y. garment rehab workshop with former A.P.C. Madras designer Jessica Ogden. With a new body of work underway and shows and screenings planned in Italy and Los Angeles, future colors and textures are on the horizon.

The art world remains in thrall to an auteur theory of creation, but Cianciolo’s work gently takes the wind out of that sail. Often working with her daughter, Lilac Sky, one might think of Cianciolo as the glue, rather than the master, who binds it all together in a “documentary of my life in the work,” as she describes it. How powerful a little thing can be, like a cookie made for you, or an artwork that invites you to complete it. Making art may just be a way to run home, or to fashion the vessel that will take you there.

For more on GARAGE's Radical Love portfolio, click here.