Filthy Lucre, an immersive installation by painter Darren Waterston, reimagines James McNeill Whistler’s famed Peacock Room—an icon of American art—as a decadent ruin collapsing under the weight of its own creative excess. Forging a link between inventive and destructive forces, Filthy Lucre forms the centerpiece of Peacock Room REMIX, an exhibition that highlights the complicated and often dramatic tensions between art world egos, monetary and aesthetic value, and creative expression.
I set out to recreate Whistler’s fabled Peacock Room in a state of decadent demolition—a space collapsing in on itself, heavy with its own excess and tumultuous history. I imagined it as . . . a vision of both discord and beauty, the once-extravagant interior warped, ruptured.
The final companion installation, Chinamania, features work by contemporary ceramic sculptor Walter McConnell and explores the enduring craze for Chinese blue-and-white porcelain in the West.
A “DC event you should go to…” –Washingtonian
“Darren Waterston’s Filthy Lucre is the Peacock Room on acid”–Vogue
“a dark, alternative story of the clash between art and commerce”–Washington Post
“If the original Peacock Room can seem dream-like, this other room is a nightmare, a mad relation locked in the basement, the untamed id of the stately room upstairs.”–Intelligent Life Magazine
“Behind the fright-house effect of Filthy Lucre lies something more profound” –Fine Art Connoisseur
“Disheveled, apocalyptic” –Wall Street Journal