For months Instagram has given us late-night glances at what we thought was Miley Cyrus’s stoner craft project. Images of party hats, multicolored beads, feathers, and bongs filled the space between her tour photos and early-morning half-nude selfies from bed.
But as it turns out, those “crafts” were Miley’s conscious effort at a new artistic endeavor—collaging together gifts from fans, personal objects, and store-bought tchotchkes into sculptural forms.
“At the beginning of this year, I hated 2014 because everything that could go wrong kept going wrong,” Cyrus told V Magazine, recalling the death of her dog and a brief hospital stint. “Everything just kept shitting on me and shitting on me. So then I started taking all of those shit things and making them good, and being like, I’m using it … So, that’s how I started making art.”
Traces of these mishaps began popping up during her Bangerz tour, which began early this year and ends in October. Shortly after her dog, Floyd, passed away in April, a colossal version of the Alaskan Klee Kai began to appear on her stage alongside animated teddy bears and a bevy of dancers.
Her artworks, which go on display at V’s Soho gallery on Thursday, push this one step further. While the sculptures are not overtly emotional, the objects from which they are made hold a lot of personal significance for the singer: a vibrator thrown onstage by a fan, a USB drive filled with “TMZ worthy photos,” and repurposed dog toys.
The collection debuted at New York-based fashion designer Jeremy Scott’s show on Wednesday in what was a well-placed collaboration. Both seem to share a very specific ’90s club-kid rave vibe. And, Scott is never one to disappoint with his runway productions. Last year, he sent busty models down the catwalk in furry football jerseys and high-heeled cleats. In previous seasons there have been baseball caps with floor-length veils, McDonald’s-inspired outfits (for Moschino), and prehistoric looks straight out of the Stone Age.
“We’re on the same wavelength—its like a psychedelic jungle,” Scott told V. “All of these stream of consciousness, colorful, playful, whimsical things mixed up together. I love that there’s a DIY feel to the sculptures, which is part of the look of the show. I want it to be less about a model army and more about a group of cool, individualized people hanging out together.”
Scott’s Spring 2015 collection features brightly colored prints collaged together into pants and tops, psychedelic garments proclaiming “DON’T DO DRUGS,” and a brief ode to Halloween (pumpkin sweaters and skull pants).
Model Charlotte Free seemed to walk right out of the ’60s when she hit the runway in one of Scott’s muted floral print dresses, complete with an eye mask (worn as a headpiece), low-hanging necklace, and oversized ring crafted by Cyrus. You wouldn’t expect the two to make sense together, but they do. The mass of random objects—plastic toys, furry balls, and keychains—that form the accessories give a childlike emphasis to the already nostalgic frock.
Similarly, the tight-fitting, strapless mini-dress fashioned on another model was painted with zodiac symbols, mimicking the DIY feel of the Cyrus-crafted, cone-shaped party hat that crowned her head. Others sported beaded necklaces, handcrafted hair clip-ins and rings all of similar caliber.
Backstage, the full display of sculptures was on view for those allowed behind the scenes—including a decorated 5-foot bong, a hockey mask covered with small, white teddy bear pins and a multicolored ponytail, as well as a crown with swirly straws, pot stickers, and a toy boot.
The sculptures and jewelry, which debuted at the Jeremy Scott fashion show on Wednesday, may very well be the kind of art that makes people question the entire establishment’s validity. To the average audience member, their kid could just as easily have made it. And this impression may be right…granted their children would have needed access to drugs and sex paraphernalia.
But, while Cyrus’ artwork seems to be far from high-brow, it does fit the mold of contemporary art, and the personal motivation behind its creation makes it all the more sincere. After all, the biggest names in the art world have cultivated their craft through heartbreak and emotional strife.
Miley Cyrus’s Dirty Hippy will be on display at the V Magazine galleries, 11 Mercer St., beginning September 11.