The Paul Pierce Collection
The Paul Pierce Collection was born from piles of clothing left behind in the Green Point warehouse terminal market, which abandoned in the mid 1980s. In 1999, a squatter named RA discovered the endless piles of clothing and began refurbishing and selling them wholesale to vintage clothing stores around Williamsburg and the East Village under the auspices of Paul Pierce Vintage. By 2004 Paul Pierce had grown into an operation that employed and housed 16 other non-domiciled people. They eventually occupied a retail store in Williamsburg and began expanding their inventory to include “legitimate” merchandise. The warehouse was recently destroyed by massive fires of undetermined causes – displacing the squatters that occupied the space.
Inspired by the true story of RA’s entrepreneurial efforts, the installation is an embellished realization of unwrought potential, and a multi-layered commentary on the art and fashion worlds, gentrification and the changing topography of New York City. It explores absurdity of motives such as a Paul Pierce designer intentionally setting fire to launch a new, trendy burnt look. Play on the questionable investigation into the fires.
All of the clothing used in the installation was recovered from the fire. The cast of the video is made up entirely of the squatters who once occupied the building. All of the clothing from the installation is available for sale, with the proceeds going to the squatters who were displaced by the fire.