Studio REV-‘s Rubbings for $20; Bootlegs for $100 

Performance artist Caroline Garcia hawks bootlegs and rubbings. Graphics and photo by Marisa Morán Jahn, 2019.

ACT guest lecturer and artist, Marisa Morán Jahn (SMVisS ’07)’s new project is a participatory exhibition, performance, and speech act celebrating the knock-off, the simulacra, and that which is pirated many times over.

A booth within 2019’s Spring Break Art Fair NYC, “Rubbings for $20; Bootlegs for $100” complicates the fetishization of the originary artwork, celebrating instead the knock-off, the simulacra, and that which is pirated many times over. According to the logic of “Rubbings for $20; Bootlegs for $100,” the greater the infidelity, degradation, and remove from the originary artwork — the more valuable a bootleg in fact becomes. Here, the new mark of authenticity becomes the messy trail of the bootleg as it wrests away from its signifier. The works in “Rubbings for $20; Bootlegs for $100” abolish the legitimate and hail the bastard; the absolute makes way for versionhood.

“[It is the] parasite who has the last word, who produces disorder and who generates a different order…” — Michel Serres, The Parasite

There are 2 parts of this booth as follows:

Rubbings for $20
rubbings (aka frottage)

  1. the technique or process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form the basis of a work of art.
  2. the practice of touching or rubbing against the clothed body of another person in a crowd as a means of obtaining sexual gratification.

For $20, visitors will be invited to purchase a sheet of vellum (tracing paper) and trace a set of curated original drawings. By tracing the drawing — or multiple drawings at once — participants will be able to feel the hand of the artist, heightening their appreciation of the work’s draughtsmanship; the flesh of the paper and vellum pressed close. Imagine tracing the edge of one drawing, capturing the edges of the drawing pinned down, the corner of the adjacent drawing: this is a celebration of art as site, event, and set of contingencies. By “rubbing” drawings created by emerging alongside established artists, the gesture elevates and legitimates both artists, functioning as a value-adding power within the context of an art fair.

Bootlegs for $100
For $100, visitors can place an “order” for a bootleg. For example, “I’d like a bootleg of the sculpture by [so and so] in booth #18.” A team of specially curated artists will “interpret” that work of art, translating it into a performance, an abstract painting, or a poem — no holds barred bootlegging. The only rule is that the bootleg cannot be rendered in the same medium as the original. Now, visitors and viewers will hungrily clamor for another artist’s rendition of the originary work. The adage that You know you’ve made it when someone has bootlegged your artwork now becomes, You know you’ve made it when someone commissions you to bootleg someone else’s artwork.

This initiative is inspired by Ugandan “VJs” who translate commercially pirated Hollywood, Nollywood, and Bollywood films info local languages. One VJ dubs all the film’s voices, liberally translating, and slipping in jokes to create their own signature flavor. In Uganda, VJs are superstars.


Chief Instigator/Artistic Director/Curator: Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-, MIT, The New School)

Artists and Bootleggers: Aisha Abuova, Sarula Bao, D. Graham Burnett, e-team, Caroline Garcia, Lauren Kelley, Alix Lambert, Steve Lambert, LoVid, Kristin Lucas, Lauren McCarthy, Sawako Nakayasu, Marisa Olson, Stefen Reed aka Mr. Ayobe, Mariah Robertson, Kenya (Robinson), Alex Schweder and Sina Basila, Yara Travieso, Penelope Umbrico, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas

Collaborating Curator: Amy Rosenblum Martín, Independent Curator; Educator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Architecture: Darío Núñez-Ameni (Atelier DNA)

Location: SPRING/BREAK Art Fair

Want to buy a rubbing or bootleg? Stay tuned for details! Proceeds benefit Studio REV-, a non-profit organization where artists, media makers, techies, low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and youth produce creative media and public art.

#rubbingsandbootlegs |