Renell Medrano is one of Oyster‘s favorite artists and collaborators. The NYC-based photographer has shot some of our favorite stories, from Tyler the Creator for our cover to Tommy Genesis for Oyster #114. Along the way, Medrano has been capturing images of her friends, musicians, models and family in all kinds of wigs. Her new exhibition, Peluca, at MILK NYC showcases these photos, as well as new imagery and a short film by Medrano, in a celebration of the hair piece and its transition from an often hidden part of urban communities to a celebrated part of mainstream culture.
“Growing up, there was such a stigma surrounding wigs,” she said in a press release. “No one talked about it but everyone — my friends, my family — wore them. Peluca celebrates the wig’s shift into mainstream culture, and how it is now embraced by women and men of all walks of life.”
The Spanish word for wig, Peluca, is an ode not to just to wigs, but to the men and women who wear them, both as part of the fashion stories Medrano shoots for magazines like Cultured and office, and her daily life.
Open now at MILK NYC, the exhibition also features an installation created in collaboration with set designer Lauren Nikrooz, in which viewers can watch as models sit in a simulated salon getting their wigs cut, styled and coiffed, alongside a massive wig installation created by hair stylist Evanie Frausto.
“The art instillation resembles the salons I grew up going to when I was younger,” Medrano said about the experience. “It’s incredibly nostalgic for me. I want people to experience the salons I know and loved, and what they mean to me.”
Peluca is on view now through September 15 at Milk Studios. If you’re not in NYC, however, get a sneak peek of some of Medrano’s photos from the exhibit, below.
Lead image: Jabari, 2019. All photos courtesy of the artist.