Art Review: Coming to Power at Maccarone Gallery

Art Review: "Coming to Power" at Maccarone Gallery
by Anastasiya Tarasenko MFA 2017

Alice Neel Nadya Nude, 1933

Just as our own Take Home a Nude auction is right around the corner, “Coming to Power” offers a scintillating look inside the world of the artist, for whom the forbidden fruit hangs low and always within reach. While sexual imagery used to be the exclusive domain of male artists for male consumers “Coming to Power: 25 Years of Women Making Sexually Explicit Art” turns our attention to the female gaze, as it recreates the landmark 1993 exhibition at the David Zwirner gallery.

Nancy Fried Her Home, 1980

The walls are painted black, charging the space appropriately with a velvety, dark atmosphere. Scrapbooking, collage, fabric, metal, lacquer finish, feathers, and ribbons, all craft elements, traditional “women’s arts”, are subverted, demented, criticized, and celebrated in equal measure as beautifully exemplified in Nancy Fried’s small works on a bread-like surface made with flour and salt. Each one is sculpted and painted, depicting scenes of intercourse, masturbation, or simply, naked domestic life.

Monica Majoli, Untitle (Bathtub Orgy), 1990

With the exception of phallic symbolism in many of the works, the majority directed the female gaze onto female bodies. One of the few paintings featuring an all male cast was Monica Majoli’s “Untitled (Bathtub Orgy)”, 1990. This small, meticulously painted image features a group of men in a dark room surrounding and urinating on a man, both in agony and ecstasy, draped over in the tub in a pose similar to that of Jesus in Michelangelo's “Pieta”.

Installation view of video display

In the room next to the main exhibition space, the visitor is invited to sit (or lay) on a large, furry throw, put on headphones, and watch an instructional video entitled “Sluts and Goddesses” by Annie Sprinkle and Maria Beatty, a 75 minute how-to guide for sexual enlightenment. This was one of the more interesting choices of video on display as it was not a conceptual art piece in its inception but the context of a gallery space lends it a more refined perspective.

The exhibition is open until October 16th at the Maccarone Gallery and features works by Alice Neel, Yoko Ono, Nicole Eisenman and many other distinguished women in the art world. 

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