Pants Optional: Coco Dolle, Queen of the Amazons

Art parade star Coco Dolle preps for Deitch’s annual Art Parade street fest from her lofty perch in the Soho Grand.

You¹ve been one of the main performers in the Deitch parade since it started in 2005. How did you get mixed up in all of this?

I was in Avignon, France, where I’m from. Painting in my studio, very tranquil existence. And one day, a friend who is a curator at Deitch here in New York called me and asked me to be in this art parade. At first I was hesitant, because I’d never done anything performance-based like that. Then I came up with this concept, which was based on Picasso’s famous 1907 painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which represents a key moment in modern art and happens to be where I am from. So I called my piece “Coco’s Demoiselles.” It was very liberating, the performance aspect. And it was well received. The Deitch people have been very supportive of my work ever since.

Say somebody wanted to be in the art parade. Can you basically just spray-paint a bunch of emaciated Bushwick residents, give them drugs to get ‘em acting crazy-like, show up, and jump in the mix?

It’s probably better to sleep with one of the curators from Deitch first.

The feared art parade casting couch. You’ve been a muse for a number of people. The French fashion designer Pierrot, American painter Alex Katz. Is there a muse casting couch also?

Well, the relationship between muse and artist is like a love affair. Even with the girls in my work that are my muses, there’s an attraction. You can’t be a muse for someone you’re not attracted to. That’s why artists are often portrayed as sexual obsessive maniacs. It’s a form of power, energy, tension, love. And sexuality is very much a part of that.

Your boyfriend is Julien Asfour, as in sibling of fashion collective ThreeAsFour. Your kids will be the trendiest downtown art fashion scenesters ever created. Or curated. Can I have one?

And they’ll have great teeth. He’s also a dentist.

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Let’s talk about your upcoming art parade project: Amazons.

Yes. I became interested in the Amazons from a PBS documentary I saw that proves that a tribe similar to the mythical Amazon warrior women did in fact exist, in what is now northern Kazakhstan. A researcher named Jeannine Davis-Kimball discovered the tombs of these warrior women there from the 4th century BC.


Really? Kazakhstan as in Borat? Everyone knows PBS is left-wing propaganda. But now they’ve gone too far.

And this researcher discovered a 12-year-old blonde and blue-eyed Mongolian farmer girl whose DNA matches that of the remains in the Amazon tombs. So this little girl is a descendant of the Amazons.

It’s too bad that little girl doesn’t get to hang out in the penthouse of the Soho Grand drinking champagne with her Amazonian sisters. As queen, you should adopt her.

I think her family raises goats or something like that. But she has blonde hair and blue eyes, which are not typical Mongolian features. I personally believe the Amazons created their own DNA. They were warriors and very nomadic, so I think they went from place to place, mating with different types of men till they perfected their DNA over time.

Harlots, the whole lot of them. But with a noble purpose. How much champagne is necessary for a proper art parade?

(Opening another bottle of champagne) Lots. And tequila. Shots of Patron. Very important for the art parade.

Alcohol is our muse, too. The name of this column is Pants Optional, which is another way of saying “we’ve been drinking.” This begs the question: did the original Amazons wear pants?

They did whatever they wanted to. Who knows? I won’t speak for them. But my Amazons, definitely pants optional.


One last question. What’s up with the blood on the models’ right breast? Scary stuff.

Well, the Amazons of mythology supposedly cut off their right breasts in order to shoot their bows better, so it’s a reference to that. And also, it represents the suffering that women have to overcome, like breast cancer, while still retaining their own sense of femininity and beauty.

On that note, let’s drink.

Catch “Coco Demoiselles: Legacy Fatale” at this Fall’s Deitch Parade, which takes over Soho for one freaky day during Fashion Week. She’ll be the feisty French chick marching down West Broadway, flanked by thirty tunic-clad Amazon women drumming, chanting, and wielding all sorts of gnarly primitive weapons.

Pants Optional: Stories, interviews, photos and other blurry bits of nightlife we sort of recall.

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