Indepth Arts News: |
"Shari Hatt: New Work - Fancy Panting, Mr. Showmanship Shares Spotlight with Dog Portraits"
2002-09-06 until 2002-11-16
Canadian photographer Shari Hatt brings her most recent work to Plug In
ICA next month, continuing her investigations of photographic tradition
and pop culture. Well-known in Montreal and Las Vegas for her offbeat
Elvis Museum, Hatt has turned her lens on another much-loved performer
Liberace. The exhibition pairs documentation from the rhinestoned
pianist‚s museum with her most popular series ever, Dogs. Both series
constitute a smart reinvention of celebrity, with Hatt‚s trademark
attention to the details of our favourite social obsessions.
Liberace's Closet, all-new work created with the cooperation of the
world-famous Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, provides an intimate glimpse
of the star's stunning collection of costumes. A gifted working-class
artist who reinvented himself as an object of adoration for millions of
fans, Liberace set the bar for conspicuous consumption, equating success
with excess but never without a sense of generosity. Hatt's portraits
muse on Liberace‚s gender-fluidity - his appeal to the middle-aged
ladies he resembled veiled his private homosexuality. The glittering
façade of this showbiz legend challenges our continued fascination with
the private lives of the very famous.
With the head-and-shoulders shots that constitute the ongoing series
Dogs, Hatt inserts, in quite straightforward fashion, an unconventional
subject matter into the conventions of photographic portraiture. Her
close attention to dogs in their specific, abundant uniqueness cuts
across the anthropomorphism of much pet‚ photography in art and amateur
photography alike. At the same time, the photos bring forward issues
that circulate around genre, taste, celebrity culture, the Œhigh/low‚
divide and cultural mediation of the animal Œother‚.
In a brand-new four-channel video installation entitled Caught, Hatt
will also consider the lives of big zoo cats. This work serves as a
critical reflection on the relationship between the public and the
entertainment function of zoos. "Zoos are today's cabinets of curiosity
and as such perpetuate colonialist and Eurocentric attitudes."
While in Winnipeg, Hatt will complete the Dogs series with an open call
for all-black and all-white dog models. For more information, please
contact Hope or Jenny at 942-1043.
Shari Hatt is a photo-based artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her
iconographic sources extend from the art historical to popular culture.
Hatt has exhibited her work in Canada and the U.S. since 1993. She is
the current recipient of the Duke and Duchess of York Photography Prize.
The Art Bank, Museum London, The Cygnet Foundation and the Banff Centre
for the Arts have recently acquired work from the Dogs series for their
Shari Hatt, Unititled (Bob), 1999