The October 2019 Late Space show “Ropa Dope” in the Garfield neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Steven Montinar and Karla Arrucha is an exhibition of wearable works that revolve around black and Hispanic culture through the lens of fashion.
“Ropa Dope” plays off of the boxing term “rope-a-dope”; a word meaning to be trapped against a boxing ring’s ropes and dodging ineffective punches thrown by the opposer. Montinar and Arrucha “dodge the blows” of items within the two communities associated with oppressive events, institutionalization, and last resort solutions by creating alternative uses for them. These alternatives twist the negative into a positive ownership of obstructive histories. The play on words come from the Spanish word for “clothes” (ropa) and a word stemming from black society driven hip hop culture detonating “cool” (dope [informal]).
Made possible with support from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier.