"GENDER" AT THE NEW MUSEUM
All Works By Tschabalala Self
I didn't plan on having the New Museum's "Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon" be my first exhibition of the New Year. The last time I visited the museum was in the fall of 2016 to see Pipilotti Rist's "Pixel Forest." I know! Wow! Where did the time go???? Anyway, even though I hadn't planned on seeing "Trigger," it was precisely the kind of exhibition that I needed to see, especially now that our world is a much different place than it used to be back in 2016.
According to the New Museum, the exhibition "investigates gender’s place in contemporary art and culture at a moment of political upheaval and renewed culture wars. The exhibition features an intergenerational group of artists who explore gender beyond the binary to usher in more fluid and inclusive expressions of identity."
First, I must warn you that the exhibition is over. What a bummer. However, I took a few pictures that I hope would entice the pants off of you. I'll publish a few more pictures in another post. Afterall, the exhibition features works by over forty artists, which means that I won't do it any justice by posting all of the images at once.
"Trigger" occupied more than five floors of the museum and would've certainly taken me to a much different place if I were high. That was soon remedied after I saw the mesmerizing film, "Girl Talk" by Wu Tsang. It features the poet Fred Moten draped in velvet and smiling and twirling under the sun. The film played on a loop while Josiah Wise's cover of "Girl Talk" filled the room. I felt like I was under that sun. I instantly forgot about the New York winter I was in and thought only of the Caribbean sun.
My favorite works were by 26-year-old Tschabalala Self, who was named to Forbes's 30 Under 30 List in 2017. Self stitches images from pieces of fabric on canvas. She graduated with an M.F.A. from Yale. Since then, her bold paintings, which are mainly about black female identity, have been shown at T293 in Naples and Thierry Goldberg Gallery in New York.
According to W Magazine, "Throughout middle and high school, Self was struck by how the women in sexualized images plastered across New York newsstands were almost always black, while the white bodies on magazines like Playboy and Penthouse were kept tucked away, only available for a price. When she headed to Bard to study studio art as an undergraduate, she started manipulating magazine cut-outs and pop culture imagery, reworking stills from music videos like 2Pac’s “I Get Around” so that the women—"video hoes," in the unsavory industry parlance—acquired overdue agency."
"Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon" was a phenomenal and eye-opening experience. Too bad it's over.