Garish: Narchitecture and its offspring.

Good gaudy: Narchitecture reinterpreted. Love the gold. (Photos courtesy of John Jackson.) 

Just in case anyone is wondering what makes the staff here at feel good in funny places: it’s knowing that every once in a while we inspire a reader to use their powers for evil instead of good. Such is the case of John Jackson, an MFA student in Exhibition, Design and Museum Planning at the University of the Arts in Philly. For a recent assignment, Jackson had to choose a word and use it as inspiration for a model. Being a wise man, Jackson chose “narchitecture,” a term coined by my super wicked collaborator, San Suzie, and employed in a post that went up as part of our incisive coverage of Miami during last year’s Art Basel. Narchitecture, as long-time readers will know, is architecture that looks as if it was commissioned by drug traffickers.

Jackson reports that the goal of his assignment “was to make a representation of the word in visual form. It was meant to be a purely affective experience — no text panels or anything else didactic.” So, for his project, titled Garish, he created a set that employed “marble” columns made out of wooden dowels and foam core, custom-made fleur-de-lys wallpaper, and “carpet” fashioned from a thrift-store jacket. Symbols of garishness were also liberally applied, including portraits of Li’l Kim, Tammy Faye Bakker and Nancy Reagan in a power suit. In keeping with the tenets of narchitecture, it is spectacularly tasteless. Though if Jackson had had several more lifetimes to produce the thing, I woulda suggested several hundred Italianate balustrades. You can never go wrong with those. Either way, this imaginative project gets a gold star from us!

In sort-of related news: I am pleased to report that someone (not us) posted “narchitecture” as a word on Urban Dictionary. Please feel free to click through and give the entry a “thumbs up.” We won’t rest until Merriam-Webster comes calling.

More images from Jackson’s project after the jump.

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