Upon visiting the installation, guests enter a traditional art deco neighborhood, full of refreshing candy colored buildings with the ocean, blue sky, and characteristic palm trees as a backdrop. In stark contrast, The Black Lords at Lords South Beach stands out, shifting the neighborhood into its wicked wonderland, making the passerby stop and wonder. The Black Lords is the transformation of Lords South Beach into a ravenous black dog named Gypsy that often appears throughout Desi Santiago's work. Upon closer inspection, visitors will find an assemblage utilizing low-fi materials such as construction grade paint and inflatable parts. A looming head overlooks the courtyard, menacing paws flank the entrance, and a whipping tail finds its way in the back. After the large gesture is taken in, visitors are able to participate in a multi-sensory ritual evoking the dark and macabre subculture Desi is known for. They can have their fortune told by Gypsy. When asking simple questions, Gypsy responds through her laser eyes, smoke, and sounds of her running, panting, and barking.
The Black Lords is the largest-scale project in Desi Santiago’s career, marking a certain “moment” in his fast rising status. Appropriately open during Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami, and several other smaller art fairs during Miami Art Week, The Black Lords will be one of the largest public art installations during this increasingly popular winter destination for art enthusiasts.
The Black Lords is open daily from 11am to 2am at Lords South Beach located at 1120 Collins Avenue (at 11th Street) in Miami Beach, Florida. Two private parties celebrate the opening.
“We are presented with moment and beings that affect our destiny but ultimately we must choose to absorb or reject these experiences and identities within ourselves in order to expand as emotional and psychic beings. Gypsy and I are intertwined souls. I, her master, and she, my muse. As a witness to my unraveling life story, I honor her existence in this work as the mistress in a game of fate within the Black Lords.” – Desi Santiago
Theatrically and ceremony reign in this larger than life installation where the viewer is asked to participate in a multisensory ritual often practiced by psychics, gypsies, and fortune tellers. The Black Lords tells a 10 year story of master and servant transformed for the public into an interchangeable protagonist and foe, good and evil. Power exchange is reversed when the once servant, Gypsy, now Black Lord, controls your destiny, reminding us of the inevitable human condition that ultimately our fate is predetermined.
For over two decades, New York City-based creative director and visual artist Desi Santiago has made a name for himself bringing together the world’s of art and fashion, collaborating with some of today’s most respected and visionary designers, brands, and artists. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant, underground night-life of New York of which he was a key figure, Santiago’s creations are noted for their boundary-pushing, cutting-edge aesthetic, taking cues from, among other influences, science-fiction and counter-culture movements. Santiago’s wide-ranging output reflects his status as one of today’s most sought after creative directors.