Chinatown openings, November 5, 2011

Micol Hebron refills her crystal vagina

Just when you thought vagina art had been exhausted, Micol Hebron, the undisputed queen of the genre, steps up and takes it to yet another level. Her new show at Jancar Gallery—titled Sisterhood is Powerful and partially done in collaboration with her sisters Siobhan and Tiernan—is all vaginas, all the time, all in your in face.

There are exquisite vagina portraits in the front gallery and glittery vagina drawings in the basement. There is even one genius painting that repurposes Jackson Pollock’s and Lucio Fontana’s iconic gestures to create an AbEx-Spatialist vagina canvas. But the centerpiece, a true showstopper, was a huge crystal vagina grotto that secreted a steady stream of delicious (and quite strong) piña colada, which guests were invited to help themselves to. I had two cups, garnished with cherries and orange slices, and was buzzed for the rest of the evening. This, on top of the retro-feminist high of hilarity that I always get from Hebron’s cheeky, cheery, and totally unapologetic paeans to the beauty and power of vaginas. Go sisters! (You can read Hebron’s own detailed commentary on this show here.)

Jenna Westra and friend help themselves to a tasty cocktail

It really was a family affair; celebratory vagina pastries were made by Hebron's dad (!).

A couple of doors down at Charlie James, the poignantly named Dreadful Sorry Clementine presents a roomful of new works by Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, whose raggedy large-scale constructions are always saturated with a deep, funny pathos. Walking around amidst these sad creatures, I felt like a visitor in an errant corner of Alice in Wonderland.

Sculptural works by Elisabeth Higgins O'Connor

Over at Human Resources, Darin Klein and Friends held a one-night release party for Box of Books Vol. IV, a project in which artists create small “books” out of ingeniously folded paper. These are then collected in boxes and sold in a limited edition of 100.

I bought a box (#80/100) for only $20, and I can attest that it’s filled with many and sundry delights—such as Julia Ozwonkoski’s “What’s Also California Funk?” list, Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly’s score for an Occupy performance, Johanna Jackson’s dot composition, Francesca Mirabella’s exquisite enveloped artwork, and Davy Rothbart’s memorable Sticky Pete story, among other lovely pieces. During the reception, the box’s inventively multifarious quality spilled over into the physical realm through short films and an interactive performance by a few of the books’ authors.

To Know End, an interactive performance
by Zac Monday

4 Responses to “Chinatown openings, November 5, 2011”

  1. Anonymous for my own good Says:

    Wow, that is really some unapologetically terrible sub-feminist work. What does it mean when the vagina becomes a joke?

  2. It’s not a joke! It’s a good hard look at the “imaging” of feminism–it’s much more subtle and complicated than a joke. That doesn’t mean some of it isn’t funny, but only because some aspects of the way the vagina was revered by essentialist feminists IS kind of dated and seems silly. I think the work is more a question about what does it mean now–what does feminism look like, how do feminists deal with iconic imagery of the past, is there some value in the tension between iconic feminist imagery and modernist masters/materials/ideas? You should see the show, it’s really good & smart!

  3. Well put, gb. I should also add that my review is very quick and dirty – the opening was incredibly crowded and convivial, and as you know, the drinks were flowing ;). Hebron has said that all the paintings & drawings in the show were in close dialogue with modernist movements – I didn’t get a chance to look at them quite as closely as I would have liked. I do encourage people to check it out for themselves and see what they think!

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