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Nicola L’s Red Coat

This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk

Artist Nicola L was born in Mazagan, Morocco in 1937 and now lives and works in New York City. Since the mid-1960s, her work has been exemplary of what she calls the "other pops", or the engagements with pop art and the ideals of the movement that were thriving beyond the US and UK at the time. Her work often sought a prominent role for women, using it as a language to reflect on what the role of women in society was in the '60s. Influenced by the socio-political upheavals of the time, her practice is mainly based around functional, everyday objects, like sculptures that have been made into chests of drawers. Her work Red Coat (1969) was created for improvised performances in public spaces, and presents the human body as a conceptual piece of art. Stripping its wearers of any particular identity, it immerses them in a communal performance of equality. 

In this film, take a trip around the world with Nicola L's Red Coat. Do you think that Red Coat can be a work of art on its own, or does it need to be animated with people inside of it to be art? When does a body become a work of art?

Created by Tate.

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Video transcript

Nicola L is a French artist but she's lived for many years in New York her practice is mainly based around functional objects which are sculptures but at the same time they have a function so they can be so fast they can be chests of drawers they can be coats when I came to New York in 67 for the first time a new york in 67 was unbelievable it was a revolution sexual till today and we often see anything ah do tell I'm d well old was filming so Chelsea girl eniko that I knew from Ibiza was here it was really so so active so fun so I came back to the Chelsea Hotel and I never left and they never asked me to go when I came to New York as a pup influenced me a certain way probably without I realized and I came back to the body more known mainstream pop which is the one we tend to associate mostly with the American artists like Andy Warhol Roy Lichtenstein whereas Nicola is exemplary of the other pots that emerged at the same time which very often saw a prominent role for women who were using this language to really reflect upon what was the role of women in society at that time she's a femme commode in French but she she's on wins and yes everything and they have all my stuff in it he'll I have my check here I have my passport the code if one may say so started out more as the playful thing amongst friends she made this coat for the last concert on the Isle of Wight Jimi Hendrix the doors were part of this concert I did his vanity code because I thought it was going to be to be cold in England and it was so hot and we were naked in the red coat so I was distributing gloves with Victor no need some skin for everybody and they are all repeating the audience same scheme for everybody it was like a player I got very moved by this I was not expecting that it become political you know following this let's say initial musical stint of the code Nicola has decided to travel with the coat to her it has also very social important social significance once you're in the cult the eleven people are all the same thin skin for every body Nicola directs the coat so she will provide the people who are wearing the coat with instructions on how to move them it's a very orchestrated movement Nicola sees herself as this choreographer of the coat I did you cut in the street in Amsterdam in Cologne in pies and it was really fun because i was asking people i did know in the street do you want to go inside my coat and people who did know each other favoring and before we're helping each other to go inside the code it was absurd but fabulous you you you you