Out of shadow

Posted on 28 Jan 2010 at 9:11am
By Rich Lopez Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com }

Christopher Ciccone may have a more famous sister, but he comes to Dallas as his own artist


THE ARTIST’S WAY | Christopher Ciccone, above, incorporates Polaroids of friends into his painting to create his deconstructed impressionism.

THE ART OF CHRISTOPHER CICCONE at HCG Gallery
1130 Dragon St., Suite 190.
Jan. 30–Mar. 6.
Artist’s reception Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
214-760-9230, HCGGallery.com.

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The last time Christopher Ciccone talked to the Dallas Voice, he discussed his roller coaster life detailed in his 2008 book, Life With My Sister Madonna. Having "the most famous woman in the world" as a sibling can be a damper when you have your own life to lead.

But with his estrangement from his famous sis, Ciccone finds a path of his own. He’s back in the art world with a new collection of work — and he may have his sights on American Idol (more on that later).

"The show has been traveling quite a bit. I’ve been so busy and I haven’t shown in a while. It makes me a bit nervous," Ciccone says via phone from Los Angeles, prior to the Dallas opening of The Art of Christopher Ciccone at HCG Gallery on Saturday.

How can a man who’s seen the world and partied with celebrities be nervous about a little ol’ art show in Dallas? Perhaps because this time, it is all about him with nothing to rely on or blame but his laurels. Even his book relied on his sister’s fame, but with this exhibit, people may see Ciccone exposed for the first time.

"Everything I do is creative — directing a music video, writing, designing furniture, interior decorating. It all involves lots of other people and they will have an opinion about it," he says. "But sometimes it’s a much more personal extension of me. I feel much more vulnerable. At same time, it’s a great thing to be tied to personally."

Ciccone’s work deliberates in erotic and somewhat schizophrenic tones.  He mixes painting with Polaroid shots of stripped-down men into what he describes as deconstructed and impressionistic pieces. Using the one-shot photo forces him to capture that second his subject is in honest and ideal form. The nostalgic look and even chemical process of the film drives a specific quality into his work.

"It’s something about the lens and the flash," he says. "The image can have a soft quality to it that might shock you. I’ve got a lot of pictures that are suggestive and provocative with an erotic aspect to it. It just happens when it happens, which is the best way for me to create. It’s much more real for me to express myself without being bound to anyone’s opinions."

Erotica clearly runs in the family — as does music. Ciccone may not be on the Madonna forefront anymore, but he’s keeping his finger on the pulse of today’s music.

Regarding Lady Gaga, Ciccone likes her music but has a hard time finding her point. "She’s a pop artist. When you present it as art or theater, the collection of images has to mean something. She’s curious and interesting like Madonna, but I have no sense of her. I’m not sure what she’s trying to say."

On American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert and his big gay moment on the American Music Awards, Ciccone weighs in, "The controversy would have been a good one if he was making a statement I could get. I just felt it was so poorly directed. He’s someone I could see being made into a star. Not that I care, but I have been thinking about it lately of what’s happening to pop icons. Where are they?"

If he plays his cards right, Ciccone could help discover the next great star. He’s making a very public bid via Facebook to replace the departing Simon Cowell on American Idol. The self-created Christopher Ciccone for American Idol! fan page pushes the idea of his pop music experience as the Cowell’s ideal successor. His declaration is loud and clear and why not?

"Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol, and who better to replace him than Christopher Ciccone?" the page opines. "With 25 years in the music business, Christopher knows all too well what it takes to be a pop star, and with his infamous ‘Ciccone tongue,’ he won’t be afraid to speak his mind!"

Suffice it to say, apparently reinvention is also a family trait. That and fearlessness. Ciccone looks to his future, whatever it may be. He’s working on scripts, filmmaking, a book of Polaroids and, of course, his bid for Idol. But what happens beyond that is more than welcome.

"My curiosity tends towards things I don’t know anything about, the unknown," Ciccone says. "I wanna do the things I haven’t done and keep expanding my career biography. Plus, it’s been a while since I experienced a good, deep, long-term relationship."   

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 29, 2010.

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