NEW YORK, NEW YORK - We are pleased to announce the opening of Exemplary Bodies, which encompasses perceptions of anatomy in contemporary art, from images of the nude to interpretations of the human figure in political contexts. The body has played a fundamental role in the development of aesthetics in art history as one of the first natural forms rendered in painting and sculpture. The artists within Exemplary Bodies look to the human anatomy as civilizations have in the past, as mediums for expression and commentary on contemporary society, especially through the prominent use of the female body-as-symbolic medium.
Examples of this include Nick Moss, who welds thick, hardened steel into the delicate physique signature to the classical nude, and Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s Body Armor, which hones in on the commercialization of femininity and womanhood. Delving further into the notion of a processed body, Marilyn Minter captures the sexualization of pop icons, such as Pamela Anderson. Anderson’s nipple just barely peeks from beyond the frame, breasts mirrored by the spherical nature of bubbles. With eyes shut and hair soaking wet, her posture suggests she is unreservedly unclothed, obscuring the discourse in the canon of western history between nakedness and nudity. Additional works featuring prominent female figures whose bodies fed the carnal desires of American society include Marilyn Monroe and Kate Moss - Marrakech, by Richard Hudson and Albert Watson, respectively.
On the verge of frolicsome, borderline caustic, humor, Kenny Scharf provides a humorous albeit uneasy depiction of liquifying physiognomy in Sloppy Melt. This sardonic depiction of the human face is reflected once again in both the plaster bust by Bruce High Quality, painted in haphazard “makeup,” and Olympia. Sharing both imagery and namesake from Manet’s own Olympia, Bruce High Quality adapts the Impressionist masterpiece to urban tastes, inverting its colors and lining the scene in a vivid magenta neon, reflecting the breasts of Hovnanian’s plaster and resin Bimbo. Reza Aramesh is the final artist joining the ranks in Exemplary Bodies, with his polychrome sculptures featuring lime-wood and glass. Joining us following his inclusion in the Met Breuer’s exhibition Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body, Aramesh renders images of suffering born from a huge archival database of press photographs spanning from the Vietnam War until today. Incorporating his work in Exemplary Bodies underscores the significance of the message within this show — to showcase the versatile nature of the human body as a medium for visual dialogue, whether in the capture of mortality, lechery, wanton, or pure, corporeal beauty.