Never has art and fashion co-existed so fervently as with the Coachella Valley’s celebrated husband and wife Pop Art team – Karen and Tony Barone. Their works have been collected and exhibited around the world.
I jumped at the chance to visit their hosted open house last week at Goldfield Home and Art on El Paseo in Palm Desert – during the monthly art walk along El Paseo. While sipping champagne, my friend Candy introduced me to her friend, Mary Orlin; who’s husband Jon is filming a documentary about this dynamic art team duo. Something I don’t want to miss as soon as it comes out.
Almost every fashion show I’ve gone to, the Barone’s have been there too, as well as every Modernism opening night party at the convention centre and other happening social events around town. They’re the topic of many conversations and for good reason. Wherever they show up your eyes immediately travel to Karen; a tiny, colorful chameleon-like butterfly. If anyone is her own muse, it’s Karen. Fun and fabulous with her fantasy fashion choices that compliment her personality. Karen has been designing clothes for most of her life; out of necessity, she says, due to her “tinier” figure that makes it difficult to find things that fit. Oh; I hear you Karen. Ha!
Karen herself is a work of art. A kind of mythological being as Tony has exhibited with his goddess-like visual paintings of her. Some of their sculptures and paintings appear childlike but many come with a message.
Remember the 9 giant wild rabbit installation you couldn’t miss when travelling from Rancho Mirage to Palm Desert? Well, you had to be here.
The aluminum sculptures were created by the Barone’s. I don’t know this to be fact, but I’m wondering if it was to do with calling attention to the wild rabbit population across Europe being wiped out due to a deadly disease in the last few years. I’ll have to find out.
And this one:
DETAIL: Karen Barone enters the photo … not to take sides but “for scale”…
There are many issues dividing our country and ripping this nation apart… the one being addressed in this work of art is “The right to bare arms vs gun control”… Each side of this debate are deeply entrenched … this painting enters the conversation in terms of highlighting the division.
The “ENDANGERED SPECIES” is America … America is represented by the United States one dollar bill … also symbolic of the USA is the American Bald Eagle … in this painting the eagle is presented as a mythological female… part human … part bird: head of an eagle … wings for arms…
Check out this unique video art: “Spicy Playtime – Don’t Card Me” with Karen Barone
Thank you for a wonderful evening.
The adventure continues: Check out this 2020 article in local paper “Desert Sun” re Karen and Tony Barone’s self-guided art tour through Coachella Valley.
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