Indepth Arts News: |
"Picturing the Modern Amazon"
2000-03-31 until 2000-07-02
New Museum od Contemporary Art
New York, NY,
USA United States of America
Picturing the Modern Amazon is the first museum exhibition ever devoted to the
representation of the hypermuscular and physically strong woman. Using the
bodybuilder as a prototype of the strong woman's problematic position in today's
beliefs and debates about women's power, this exhibition will present modern amazons
as a culture with a history, as a dazzling and transgressive current phenomenon, and as
avatars of the future. The hypermuscular woman is a key that unlocks ideas about
contemporary women's power both as a reality and as an image. Her particular
physicality resonates with the significance of large social issues such as female pleasure
and corporeality and the dynamics of bodily and social power.
The exhibition consists of three sections: historical images, contemporary works, and
comics. The historical images date from 1783 to the present. The contemporary section
includes over forty artists, many of whose works were created specifically for the
exhibition and feature bodybuilders who posed for the artists. Contemporary artists
include Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Renee Cox, Nicole
Eisenman, Jane Hammond, Oliver Herring, Alfred Leslie, Annie Leibovitz, Mary Ellen
Mark, Susan Meiselas, Herb Ritts, Alison Saar, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Nancy
Spero, and Barbara Zucker. Comics artists are represented by comic strips, comic
books, and unique art works that focus on muscular female characters and superheroes.
They include Jennifer Camper, Robert Crumb, Diane DiMassa, Roberta Gregory, John
Howard and Turtel Onli.
Picturing the Modern Amazon is a collaboration between women bodybuilders,
athletes, artists, scholars, feminists, and historians. The exhibition is being organized by
Laurie Fierstein, a bodybuilder and social activist; Joanna Frueh, an art historian, art
critic, and performance artist; and Judith Stein, a curator and critic. An accompanying
catalogue, published by Rizzoli International, includes lavish illustrations, scholarly
essays, nonfiction writings, and five interviews with female bodybuilders.
Events accompanying the exhibition include a performance by female bodybuilders and
symposia featuring artists, bodybuilders, scholars, historians, and the exhibition
Janet Cooling, Three Views of Fran, 1998.
Grisaille, Oil on canvas, 96 x 100. Picturing Fran Ferraro. Courtesy of the artist.