Display Cases in the Great Hall: Exhibition Archive


21 January through 15 March 2017

Installation art by James Perkins

James PerkinsJames Perkins explicitly plays with our perception of universal truths and values, as perceived through conceptual signifiers. Here, Perkins places a single Submariner Rolex watch within a pile of 99 counterfeit Submariner Rolex watches purchased on the black market. Poignant and optimistic, this installation explores our sense of discovery and fascination with the idea of luxury, symbols of success, and signs of difference. In One Percent, Perkins dazzles us with the sheer numbers of timepieces, and the near impossibility of finding the real within the pile of imitations. The physical characteristics of luxury like shiny rare metals, exquisite workmanship, and thick polished glass, compete with the recognizable form of the watches. Real luxurious watches and cheap fake copies blend as their sheer numbers overwhelm viewers. All are working timepieces. Only one is the truth the viewer seeks.

Perkins plays with our understanding of value, of reality, and of time, challenging our ability to decipher the real from fake, and the valuable from the dispensable. Engaging with the idea of time, and the game of chance, Perkins mesmerizes us with the understanding of limited time. As the viewer tries to identify the one real Rolex watch in a pile of fakes, times escapes. Time well spent searching for the truth? Or time wasted attempting to decide whether real and fake can be separated and understood at a glance?

James Perkins studied at Yale University before going to Wall Street, later completing his MFA at the School of Visual Arts. Some of his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, and he has collaborated with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), Thomas Pink, and Sephora, jostling ideas of identity, luxury, style, and value.

Curated by Lisa A. Banner