Did You Know The Props On 'Melrose Place' Were Covert Works Of Art With Coded Meanings?

Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place were a big part of the television landscape in the 1990s—mainstream and prime time, it's hard to believe they were anything more than shiny platters serving youthful audiences hot new products and societal norms. But it turns out Melrose Placewas secretly sending you coded messages about HIV awareness, women's rights, gender roles, same-sex marriage, and environmental issues.

In 1995, artist Mel Chin somehow "convinced the producers of Melrose Place to let him and a group of artists/students/teachers (aka GALA Committee) replace props with conceptual artworks," which would turn up in episodes. We're told "the covert works had coded meaning... issues from the '90s that continue to prevail today; nostalgia meets contemporary life. He turned network television into a powerful venue for public art, reaching millions of people worldwide."

Over several seasons, the artists produced a range of subversive objects which updated art historical movements like Dada and Surrealism, hinted at the unfolding plotlines (they were provided with scripts ahead of time), and subverted the form and content of a ‘90s pop-culture mainstay.

Paintings depicting locations related to high-profile murders and deaths were slipped into the background...


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