LOS ANGELES, Calif. and NORMAN, Okla. — Last year, images of Britney Spears’ shaved head were splayed all over the media. And, in celebration of Spears, Mainsite Contemporary Art in Norman is exhibiting an appropriated image for public viewing through March 28. Los Angeles artist, known as XVALA, set out to define Spears’ spiritual, emotional and economical value.

To do this, he appropriated an infamous media print image — Britney Spears’ shaved head and public meltdown – a public display meant to arouse sensual and spiritual anxiety.

artist XVALA Bauer-Griffin, LLC, one of the most prestigious and well-established paparazzi agencies in the world, also known as the Hollywood Hunt Club, has copyright to the image. XVALA approached them for permission to appropriate it. After careful negotiations, a price was set, allowing the commodity value to be upheld.

After nine months of artistic gestation, “The Appeal of the Loss of Desirability” was born.

XVALA worked with a technician to refine Britney’s image. It was cropped, and feature and environment colors manipulated. The final portrait, an exact composition, communicates a youthful, fun, and luxurious expression. But is it what it appears to be?

Bernard Vandeuren, who works with the Getty Center, and is an expert on archival frame restoration and fabrication, worked with XVALA to create a thought-provoking outline.

An early 17th-century Italian reproduction frame with ornate leaves, flowers, winged cherubs and touches of 18-karat lemon and 12-karat white gold, convey spiritual loftiness and loss of religion.

Wall mounted, the object evokes emotions ranging from peace and harmony, to discord, conflict and psychological distress. Spears’ soft head appears life sized; viewers experience the feeling of gazing into a mirror.

“We were open to the concept of tabloid art and paparazzi culture,” Christian Pitt, Managing Director and Curator of Mainsite Contemporary Art, said. “We like to challenge our viewers; one viewer talked to XVALA at length, trying to make sense of the piece. When we can do that, we’ve been successful.”

XVALA works primarily in Los Angeles; he has plans to exhibit the piece in major cities around the country.

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Photo Caption: The Appeal of the Loss of Desirability – Original image Copr. © 2008 Bauer-Griffin, LLC.

[tags]Mainsite Contemporary Art, artist XVALA, The Appeal of the Loss of Desirability, Bauer-Griffin LLC, Hollywood Hunt Club, Oklahoma art gallery[/tags]