Satirizing the Corporate State with “Hygenic Dress League” in Madrid

Sorry, didn’t mean to drop a caterpillar in your Chablis darling, just wanted to make art that has meaning.

In an era of rapid change, three-card monte, and staged misinformation, satire is one useful art form that can assist you to keep the facts in focus – blowing the PR fog from the room.

It has been a little while since we checked in with Detroit-based conceptual satirists Hygenic Dress League (HDL) and we found that they have landed with a thud in Spain. The public art may appear simple, but the concepts are heavy.


You’ll recall perhaps that this street art duo is actually a corporation and their love for blurring lines between
corporate personhood/personhood,
art project/social commentary, and
humorous/deadly serious
may make for dissonance in the cranial region.

Even their murals are not called such – they are “advertisements”. That is especially rich now that major brands are hi-jacking organic street art culture and wiggling around local ordinances by calling their advertisements “murals”.

HDL Corp. concepts are so developed that founders Steve and Dorota Coy cannot speak normally any more, preferring to communicate only in the non-personal “we” speak of press releases and “communications” departments. He/She/They can explain the work better than we/you can adequately comprehend so here the HDL Corporation takes the floor for the remainder of today’s Powerpoint presentation.

But first, who are all these eagle-headed figures in the work? “The animal men are basically anthropomorphic versions of our employees – the three represented here are all representing the executive employees from the corporation,” Coy tells us.


“Pulling Strings”, HDL Corporation in Camp de Cebada. Madrid. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“‘Pulling Strings’ represents the idea of seeming like we are free when we are really tied down – attached – under the control of oligarchy. This piece can also be interpreted as the masses doing the work to benefit the few – the wealthy. We appreciate the double read of this piece.”


“Pulling Strings”, HDL Corporation in Camp de Cebada. Madrid. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)


HDL Corporation. “The Eagle has Landed Part II”, Lisbon. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“‘The Eagle has Landed Part II’ at the LX Factory portrays American capitalism/corporatism and its global impact on cities.”


HDL Corporation. “Village Underground Lisboa”, Lisbon. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“This piece presents a new character for our corporation,” says spokesperson Coy. “Just as any corporation would hire models to build their brand, the ‘Gold Face’ characters are just that. They are part of a marketing campaign to represent the elite and make people feel inadequate in their current status,” says Coy.

“‘Gold Faces’ will appear in more advertisements in the future. The seeing eye is also present on the hands and the carnations represent the carnation revolution of 1975 in Portugal which freed them from dictatorship.”


HDL Corporation. “Village Underground Lisboa”, Lisbon. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)


HDL Corporation. “Madrid Tabacalera”, Madrid. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“This piece in our classic gold and black is just an homage to our executives. It is painted on metal and has a really nice aesthetic – a gleam.”



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