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For her Second Self photography series, Canadian artist Meryl McMaster asked her subjects to blindly draw single-line contous of their faces, which she then sculpted into wire masks. Worn over their skin, all painted a ghostly and theatrical white, the large-scale portraits consider the construction and perception of identity.
Selections from the 2010–11 series are on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Meryl McMaster: Second Self is a small exhibition in the long hallway just outside the longterm Infinity of Nations installation, but worth a stop to see an emerging artist who, with distinct and striking imagery, is exploring the layers of identity. McMaster, based in Ottawa, Ontario, is a Plains Cree member of the Siksika Nation, which along with her Dutch and British ancestry inspires much of her art where heritage is a constantly evolving personal history.
In all these series, the process of their creation is visible, and feels like something still in flux. The wire masks in Second Self are simultaneously abstract attempts to capture what should be most familiar — our own faces — and also a form of costuming, facilitating what we do everyday: play with the different selves we present as our own identities.
Meryl McMaster: Second Self continues at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York (One Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan) through December 11.
This week, LA’s new Academy Museum, the intersections of anti-Blackness and anti-fatness, a largely unknown 19th century Black theater in NYC, sign language interpreters, and more.
Titian’s paintings are masterpieces, with all the complications of the term.
Through “Historic Site,” an 8-foot-tall plaque and Historic Sight, a year-long rotating exhibition in Pittsburgh, the Black Cube Fellows investigate how history is constructed, remembered, and retold.
Lawson’s images, and the ways that she has discussed her process, seem to be actively reproducing the kind of big-dick energy power dynamics of White male artists who also claim mastery over their subject matter.
Jenkins’s new short film, the centerpiece of a MoMI exhibit on The Underground Railroad, uses his signature techniques to confront the viewer.
Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan and Wright memorializes Chicago’s Garrick Theatre and Buffalo’s Larkin Building, which were razed to build a parking lot and a truck stop.