INDEPENDENT CURATORS INTERNATIONAL
exhibitions

Embedded Metaphor

  • Perry Bard, Shelter, 111 Centre Street, New York City, 1989. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Janet Sterback, Attitudes, 1996. Courtesy of the Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina Collection. Rona Pondick, Black Bed, 1987. Courtesy of Sidney Janis Gallery, New York.

  • Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, Gurney of Nails, 1992. Courtesy of the artists.

  • David Reed, A Painting in Scottie's Bedroom, 1995. Courtesy of Max Protetch Gallery, New York.

  • Oliver Herring, Castle, 1994. Courtesy of the artist and Max Protretch Gallery, New York.

Curated by Nina Felshin

The bed, site of some of our most psychologically charged experiences, is also a quintessential symbol of intimacy and sexuality. In Embedded Metaphor, artists explore both the poetry and anxiety inherent in this emblematic object. Here the bed has proven to be a protean metaphor that resonates in our era of AIDS, homelessness, abortion rights, sexual abuse and the politics of gender. Removed from its usual domestic setting, the bed provides a forum for examining such issues which have gained prominence in both the “real world” and the art world in the past fifteen years.

 

The bed, site of some of our most psychologically charged experiences, is also a quintessential symbol of intimacy and sexuality. In Embedded Metaphor, artists explore both the poetry and anxiety inherent within this emblematic object. Here the bed has proven to be protean metaphor that resonates with our era of AIDS, homelessness, abortion rights, sexual abuse, and the politics of gender. Removed from its usual domestic setting, the bed provides a forum for examining issues which have gained prominence in both the ‘real world’ and the art world in the past fifteen years.

 

Many of the works in Embedded Metaphor speak to issues of mortality and vulnerability, recalling writer Anthony Burgess’ observation: “The study of sleep is wonder; the study of beds is fear.” Others comment on marriage and intimacy, or stand for battlefields where government action intrudes upon private leves. Some are presented as playpens for the unconscious, dream vehicles to encourage remembering and enable forgetting, or boats upon which childhood imagination sets sail; still others are offered as temples of devotion and suffering.

 

All of the beds in the exhibition are empty. Few are intended for repose; either impossibly small, oddly proportioned, exceedingly fragile or even painful, they offer telltale clues to the social class, age, and values of the bodies that would inhabit them. The vacant bed serves as a surrogate for the human body, while at the same time evoking absence, loneliness, and death. Rather than alluding to a specific physical presence, the empty bed ultimately raises ideas about an individual’s social and psychological construction.

 

Accompanying this exhibition is the catalogue, “Embedded Metaphor” edited by Nina Felshin. Please click here or visit our shop for more information.

updates


curator

Nina Felshin

Nina Felshin, formerly a curator at Wesleyan University’s Zilkha Gallery, The Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnnati and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC,  is an independent curator, writer, and activist.  She is the editor of But Is It Art?: The Spirit of Art as Activism and the author of numerous articles and catalog essays. Felshin’s past exhibitions include, in addition to the five she curated for ICI,  Black and Blue: Examining Police Violence; Disasters of War: From Goya to Golub; Global Warning: Artists and Climate Change; and Framing and Being Framed: The Uses of Documentary Photography.

 


artists


touring schedule

Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University
Middletown, CT, United States
September 1, 1998 - November 2, 1998

Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Brunswick, ME, United States
January 22, 1998 - March 16, 1998

Western Gallery, Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA, United States
September 29, 1997 - November 22, 1997

Dalhousie Art Gallery, Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
March 1, 1997 - April 5, 1997

The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art
Sarasota, FL, United States
September 21, 1996 - November 27, 1996


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