6020 Wilshire Blvd. (across from BCAM at LACMA) Los Angeles, CA 90036
Paradise Lost tells a story of Miami’s most explosive decade. In the late seventies Miami re-emerged as a cocaine-ridden city of drugs and violence. Debaucherous discothèques, palatial mansions, exotic car dealerships, and international banks defined the new space that would become the future of contemporary South Florida. This body of work features photography, film, mirrored etchings, and works on paper exploring the themes of power, desire and destruction. Historical figures like cigarette boat king Don Aronow, drug queenpin Griselda Blanco and celluloid icon Tony Montana all worked well as symbols of empty promise. A passion for true crime and the current level of greed and corruption in our culture provided timely inspiration. “I figured it was a loose metaphor, much like the poem Paradise Lost by John Milton (1667) about the fall of man,” says Casagrande.
In the glamour of the night, the mirrored squares circling the dance floor create a fleeting contradiction between fantasy and reality. The power of transformation, and the popularity of cocaine’s anxiety ridden nature framed my decision to work within the notion of mirrors and perception.
The grid pattern’s allusive nature creates a linear abstraction reducing the space down to a single square. The square becomes a ring, the ring becomes a battle, and within this square is a spectacle of power. A dance unfolds where power and morality are on the line until a new opponent emerges in victory. -- Paul Mittleman, curator, Paradise Lost.
Reggie Casagrande crew opening night.... It was a long week for all but so excited for Reggie to see this come to fruition for her. I met Reggie about 8 years ago when we hired her to shoot an ad campaign for the brand I was working for. I had seen her work in Paper magazine and thought she had such a cool POV. She was one of the first friendly faces from my former life that I saw once I moved to LA and I feel lucky to know this amazing woman.