Shake That Body: Vital Parts Rearranged at MoMA

Written by City Arts on . Posted in Arts & Film, Arts Our Town, Arts Our Town Downtown, Arts West Side Spirit, Our Town, Our Town Downtown, West Side Spirit.

Steve Gianakos, “She Could Hardly Wait,” 1996, Oil and ink on cut-and-pasted printed paper.


A show to give you nightmares and rip through your subconscious, Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration at is not so much about decay as rearrangement. The slight misnomer of the title hints at the gothic quality of the 90 paintings, drawings, images, pen-and-inks—you name it—by artists as disparate and wide-ranging as and , with a seedbed in , , Miró and other artists, from 1917 through 2004.

With the displacement and exaggeration of certain body parts comes the questioning. What is that breast doing over there (and, then, what is the function of a breast anyway)? Why does “Whip Woman” (Georg Baselitz), with her huge body and minuscule head, work as art/caricature, and make us laugh like hell? Other titles terrify: “Hand Tree,” by Marcel Jean, with hands scarily reaching out of a tree trunk; “The Flesh Fly,” by Andre Racz; “Baboon Bride,” by Chris Finley.

Then there’s that malevolent-looking leatherette phallus hanging overhead constructed by Bourgeois (with the paradoxical title “Little Girl”) which also—deliberately—suggests a female torso. She explains, in an excerpted statement, “From a sexual point of view, I consider the masculine attributes to be very delicate.”

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