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One’s skin is a uniquely intimate identifying trait. It bears the marks of not only one’s birth, but travels, adventures, hurts, and spills, physiological traumas and recoveries. But as a doorway, it swings both ways: it’s a record of a body’s experience of a singular life, but it’s also a random palimpsest of whatever genetic heritage one has. Moles and marks appear where they are not bidden or provoked. Though skin is a key sign of who we are and where we have been, it also bears witness to an ancestral endowment that we didn’t choose and is difficult to change. The exhibition at Invisible Exports, Cheap Suitcase, brings to mind this aspect of the body. Much of the work in the show goes back and forth between what is volitional and what just happens to us.
Take Ariana Page Russell’s “Toile 2” (2006), a photographic print of flower-like patterns Russell made on herself, exploiting her condition of dermatographia — her skin’s tendency to have a kind of allergic reaction to slight scratches. These patterns turn her physical precondition into a kind of decorative wallpaper. Then there are the mastectomy scars in Clarity Haynes’s oil paintings, such as “Michael” (2014), which is a kind of account of self-struggling with the body to keep it healthy by excising parts of it.
The rest of the show includes photographic, sculptural, and abstract painting work by Ron Athey, Byron Kim, Hannah Wilke. This work, especially Kim’s hazy paintings of healing bruises, speaks to how we gainsay our fragility. The exhibition reminds me of what the writer Nancy Mairs once said in her essay “Carnal Acts“: one doesn’t just have a body; one is a body, which suggests that being a body is a willful act. That’s the rub: our bodies are caught in that vortex between what we make ourselves to be and who and what we already are.
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
With scavenged materials, Amanda Maciel Antunes constructs a motherland.
Where are the directors taking the stage to acknowledge workers’ demands today?
The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.