“Costume designers generally work within a realistic tradition. But the only script that the theatrical genius Machine Dazzle follows is an emotional one.”
Beloved downtown bon vivant and all-around creative provocateur Machine Dazzle has been dazzling stages via costumes, sets, and performance since his arrival in New York in 1994. An artist, costume designer, set designer, singer/songwriter, art director, and maker, Machine describes himself as a radical queer emotionally driven, instinct-based concept artist and thinker trapped in the role of costume designer, sometimes.
Machine designs intricate, unconventional wearable art pieces and bespoke installations. As a stage designer, Machine has collaborated with artists from the New York downtown scene and beyond – including Julie Atlas Muz, Big Art Group, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Taylor Mac, Basil Twist, Godfrey Reggio, Jennifer Miller, The Dazzle dancers, Big Art Group, Mike Albo, Stanley Love, Soomi Kim, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Opera Philadelphia, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, the Curran Theatre, and Spiegelworld; and has created bespoke looks for fashion icons including designer Diane von Furstenberg and model Cara Delevingne for the 2019 Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala.
Machine’s costumes and sets were featured in Taylor Mac’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. A documentary feature film directed by Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein and co-produced by Pomegranate Arts will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2023.
In 2019, Machine was commissioned by Guggenheim Works and Process and The Rockefeller Brothers to create Treasure, a rock-and-roll cabaret of original songs including a fashion show inspired by the content.
Recent collaborations include the Catalyst Quartet on Bassline Fabulous – a reimagining of Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his debut collaboration with Opera Lafayette, for the historic premiere of the never-before-seen Rameau comedic opéra-ballet, Io.
Dazzle was a co-recipient the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Visual Design, the winner of a 2017 Henry Hewes Design Award, and a 2022 United States Artists Fellow. He delivered a TED Talk at TED Vancouver in 2023.
Machine Dazzle’s work has been exhibited internationally. His first solo exhibition, Queer Maximalism x Machine Dazzle, was held at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City in 2022.
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